BugFinder Insects by State Spiders Butterflies & Moths Bees, Ants, & Wasps Beetles All Bugs Videos (YouTube)

American Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the American Copper

Loading SVG image placeholder
Image Credit: Nathan L. taken by the Pawtuxet River in Warwick, RI
Full-sized image of the American-Copper-Butterfly Thumbnail image of the American-Copper-Butterfly

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

Updated: 01/02/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 American Copper looks like an altogether different butterfly. The rich tawny brown is replaced with whitish-gray. The underside of the forewing is still largely orange, but the hindwing is mostly gray with three rows of small black dots. A thin, bright, orange-red line traces the bottom edge of the hindwing near the fringe.

Caterpillars of the American Copper are fond of eating the leafy parts of sheep and alpine sorrel, a plant from the buckwheat family. Curly dock, another ground-level leafy plant, is also preferred. Their bodies are green and plump, completely covered in very short hairs. The side of each segment has a tiny yellow dot and its tail end tapers. Two to four broods can be produced in one year with more occurring in the warmer states of the U.S. and Mexico. ©InsectIdentification.org

Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.InsectIdentification.org. It is the product of hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, educators, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at InsectIdentification AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.

General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

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

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Lycaena phlaeas
Other Name(s): Common Copper, Flame, Copper, Small Copper
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 22mm to 28mm (0.86" to 1.10")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange; brown; white; black; gray
Descriptors: dots; spots; two-toned; band; fringe; small; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 22mm (0.9in) and 28mm (1.1in)
Lo: 22mm
Md: 25mm
Hi: 28mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the American Copper may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the American Copper. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Sitemap
Beetle Identification Butterfly Identification Caterpillar Identification Spider ID Fungal Infections on Insects Nursery Web Spider Official State Insects Termite Basics Insect Molting Process Bugs of Tennessee House Centipede JoroSpider.org

2024 www.InsectIdentification.org • Content ©2006-2024 InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved. The InsectIdentification.org logo, its written content, and watermarked photographs/imagery are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and is protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (regarding bites, etc...).Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. By submitting images to us (InsectIdentification.org) you acknowledge that you have read and understood our Site Disclaimer as it pertains to "User-Submitted Content". Images in JPG format are preferred with a minimum horizontal dimension of 1000px if possible. When emailing please include your location and the general estimated size of the specimen in question if possible. Please direct all inquiries and comments to insectidentification AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

©2024 www.InsectIdentification.org • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2006-2024 (18yrs)