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Large Copper

Lycaena dispar

  • Family: Gossamer-winged Butterflies – Lycaenidae
  • Subfamily: Coppers – Lycaeninae
  • Wing span: Medium-sized, 33–42 mm (1.29–1.64 in.). Females larger than males.
  • Wing upper side: Males shiny orange, edges thinly black, one large black blotch in middle of forewing. Females’ forewing shiny orange, margins black, many black blotches. Hind wing brown, edges and veins orange.
  • Wing underside: Forewing orange with black blotches, edges grey. Hind wing grey with white-edged black blotches and orange margin stripe.
  • Habitat: Abundantly flowered damp meadows and bogs.
  • Flying time: July.
  • Overwintering form: Caterpillar.
  • Larval foodplant: Docks (Rumex) such as water dock (R. hydrolapathum) and Scottish dock (R. aquaticus).
  • Endangerment: Near threatened, protected in all of Finland.

The large copper was first found in Finland at the beginning of the 1970s and is protected in the few places that it flies in south-eastern Finland. The rare species established its place at the end of the 1990s.

The large copper can be confused with the scarce copper and purple-edged copper. The male large copper has a large black blotch in the middle of its forewing which differentiates it from the scarce copper, whose central blotch is either missing or very faint. The female scarce copper has a row of round black blotches at the edge of its wing which do not feature on the large copper. The large copper also lacks white blotches on the underside of the hind wing like scarce copper has. The female large copper has orange veins on the upper side of its hind wings, unlike the purple-edged copper. Females lay their eggs individually or in a few bunches in the wrinkly dock leaves.

The most expensive butterflies

The large copper is protected and the price of its destruction is currently 1,682 €. Only the baton blue carries the same price tag.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same subfamily

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