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  • American Copper - (Lycaena phlaeas)

    American Copper - (Lycaena phlaeas)

    Though found on other continents, the American Copper is one of North America's most popular and wide-ranging butterflies.

    Picture of American Copper
    Staff Writer (9/4/2017): Thought to have emigrated from Europe, the American Copper adapted well to its new home. Ranging throughout almost every state and province, the American Copper is ubiquitous, and can be found in a variety of habitats. In the east, look for them in fields and pastures as well as roadsides and meadows. In the west, look for them in higher elevations on hiking trails and outcroppings of vegetation among the rocks. Adults are active from mid spring through the end of autumn. They drink nectar from a variety of flowers like clover, yarrow and buttercups.

    When resting with wings flat, one can admire the bright orange color that covers most of the forewings of the American Copper. The hindwings are mostly brown with a faint black circle near the midline on each. Both sets of wings are bedecked with medium-sized black dots; spread out on the forewing, and along the bottom edge of the hindwing. A white fringe borders all wings. When the wings are raised, the brown colors of the American Copper are replaced with whitish-gray. A thin orange-red line runs near the bottom edge of the hindwing on this side.

    Caterpillars are fond of eating sheep and alpine sorrel from the buckwheat family, as well as curly dock. Two to four broods can be produced in one year with the greater number occurring in warmer, southern states. Their bodies are green, darkening at the head.

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    Details of the:
    American Copper

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: American Copper
    Scientific Name: Lycaena phlaeas
    Other Names: Common Copper, Flame, Copper, Small Copper

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Lycaenidae
           Genus: Lycaena
            Species: phlaeas

    Size (Adult, Length): 22mm to 28mm (0.87in to 1.10in)

    Identifying Colors: orange, brown, white, black, gray

    Additional Descriptors: dots, spots, two-toned, band, fringe, small, flying

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Georgia; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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