Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Lustrous Copper
Lycaena cupreus (W.H. Edwards, 1870)

Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Lycaeninae
Identification: Upperside is shiny coppery red with small black spots and black border. Spots are larger in female. Underside is gray with many small black spots; forewing with overall copper tinge and black submarginal line; hindwing submarginal line is red.
Wing Span: 1 1/8 - 1 1/4 inches (2.9 - 3.1 cm).
Life History: Males perch and patrol for females in hollows of open areas. Females lay eggs singly on or near host plant leaves; which the caterpillars then eat. Half-grown caterpillars hibernate.
Flight: One flight from June-August.
Caterpillar Hosts: Plants of the Knotweed family (Polygonaceae) including alpine sorrel (Rumex pauciflorus), and other Rumex and Oxyria species.
Adult Food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Mountain meadows, sagebrush flats, glacial cirques, rocky treeless areas.
Range: At high elevations in the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia south to New Mexico. Moderate to high elevations on Pacific Slope; Oregon to Sierra Nevada of California; western Nevada.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL
Alternate Scientific Names:
Lycaena cuprea