Lycaena phlaeas

Small Copper -

The Latin name of this butterfly is Lycaena phlaea

Introduction To The ButterflyEdit

The Small Copper is a fast flying butterfly that, once settled, is unmistakable with its bright copper-coloured forewings. It is a widespread species and a familiar and welcome sight for many naturalists throughout the summer months.

Subspecies: eleus

This subspecies is found throughout the British Isles, with the exception of Ireland.

Subspecies: hibernica

This subspecies represents the population found in Ireland, and has minor colour differences with the subspecies eleus.


This butterfly occurs in discrete colonies throughout the British Isles. Most colonies are fairly small, with just a few adults being seen on the wing at any one time. It is absent from mountainous areas, the Outer Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetlands.

Annual CycleEdit

There are typically 2 or 3 generations each year, depending on the weather, with 4 generations in extremely good years. The first adults emerge in May, occasionally at the end of April, with the last adults being seen around the middle of October, depending on location.


This butterfly favours open land where nectar sources and foodplant are found. Such habitats include grassland, wasteland, heathland, old quarries, embankments, road verges and woodland rides.


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