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Scarce Copper

Lycaena virgaureae

  • Family: Gossamer-winged Butterflies – Lycaenidae
  • Subfamily: Coppers – Lycaeninae
  • Wing span: Small, 25–32 mm (0.98–1.25 in.).
  • Wing upper side: Males shiny orange, edges thinly black. Middle of forewing may have unclear black blotch, but this might also be lacking. Females shiny orange, forewing and hind wing with abundance of black blotches. Hind wing’s blotches can merge to form larger dark patches. Wing veins orange. Margin of females’ hind wing with row of black blotches. There can also be a row of shiny blue blotches.
  • Wing underside: Orange-brownish orange, black blotches especially on forewing, hind wing with row of white blotches.
  • Habitat: Dryish meadows and grazing land.
  • Flying time: Early July–mid-August.
  • Overwintering form: Egg.
  • Larval foodplant: Sheep’s sorrel (R. acetosella).

The Coppers are a subfamily of the Gossamer-winged butterflies and in Finland are represented by five species. The scarce copper is common in Finland and can be easily differentiated from other coppers by the white blotches on the underside of its wings. Males lack the clear black central blotch on the forewings that is typical of the large copper. Females have a row of black blotches along the margin of their hind wings which do not feature on the large copper. The purple-edged copper can be identified by the orange veins on the upper side of scarce copper’s hind wing.

Males wait for females in their territories, which they defend on the edges of forests. Females lay their eggs individually or in small bunches on the leaves of the host plant.

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

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