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Violet Copper

Lycaena helle

  • Family: Gossamer-winged Butterflies – Lycaenidae
  • Subfamily: Coppers – Lycaeninae
  • Wing span: (Very) Small, 22–27 mm (0.86–1.05 in.). Smallest of the coppers.
  • Wing upper side: Forewing shiny violet and reddish yellow with unclear black or violet blotches, wing margin black. Hind wing shiny violet, red strip along margin, outside of which a black and blue or white stripe. Female more brown than violet, often with row of blue blotches close to marhin of forewing and hind wing.
  • Wing underside: Forewing orange with white-edged black blotches. Margin of wing with row of black and white blotches. Hind wing light brown with white-edged black blotches. Wing margin with reddish stripe.
  • Habitat: Damp and open habitats, rich swamps, shores of waterside meadows that are prone to flooding.
  • Flying time: Early June–mid-July.
  • Overwintering form: Cocoon.
  • Larval foodplant: Sheep’s sorrel (R. acetosella) and common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and also alpine bistort (Polygonum viviparum).
  • Endangerment: Endangered, protected in all of Finland.

The violet copper can nowadays be found only in northern Finland and in the province of Häme. Most of the upper side of the wings is brown or shiny violet and the white stripe that runs alongside the red strip along the edge on the underside of the hind wing differentiates it from other coppers. The violet copper can easily go unnoticed because it is brown and flies quickly close to the ground.

Males wait for females in their territory in bushes. Females lay their eggs individually on the leaves of the host plant.

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

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