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

Pollinator Week was June 20-26, 2022!

Butterflies and moths are accidental pollinators of many flowering plants. While most species do not have special structures to carry pollen, they do brush against pollen and transfer it to other flowers.

Did you know? The Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) flies close to the ground and uses its short proboscis to probe flowers of wild strawberry, white sweet clover, and other low-lying plants.