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Purple-edged Copper

Lycaena hippothoe

  • Family: Gossamer-winged Butterflies – Lycaenidae
  • Subfamily: Coppers – Lycaeninae
  • Wing span: Small, 25–35 mm (0.98–1.37 in.).
  • Wing upper side: Females’ forewing shiny orange or completely brown with black blotches. Hind wing brown with orange strip along edge. Males shiny orange, edges dark violet, forewing and hind wing both with clearly defined black central blotches.
  • Wing underside: Forewing base colour orange, leading edge grey. With white-edged black blotches. Hind wing grey with white-edged black blotches, wing edge with orange blotches that can also form continuous strip along edge.
  • Habitat: Rich abundantly-flowered meadows and grazing land.
  • Flying time: Southern Finland mid-June–mid-July. In the north a bit later.
  • Overwintering form: Caterpillar.
  • Larval foodplant: Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and also sheep’s sorrel (R. acetosella).
  • Endangerment: Near threatened.

Coppers (Lycaeninae) are one of three Finnish subfamilies of the Gossamer-winged butterflies (Lycaenidae) family. The two others are the Blues (Polyommatinae) and the Hairstreaks (Theclinae).

The purple-edged copper can be found all over Finland. From upper side it resembles the large copper. The edges of the upper side of the males’ wings are a shiny violet, however, and the females lack the orange veins that are typical of the large copper.

Males defend their territories around the foodplant or in taller vegetation as they await females. The females lay their eggs individually or in small bunches at the base of the host plant’s leaves. The species has declined markedly in recent years.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same group

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