Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Gorgon Copper
Lycaena gorgon (Boisduval, 1852)


Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Lycaeninae
Identification: Upperside of male coppery brown with bright reddish purple tinge; female dark brown with cream and black spots. Upperside of female hindwing with row of orange crescents next to row of small back spots. Underside of both sexes gray with black spots; hindwing with submarginal row of red-orange spots.
Wing Span: 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches (3.2 - 3.8 cm).
Life History: Males perch and patrol for females near host plants. Eggs are laid singly on host flower stalks and hatch the next spring. Caterpillars eat leaves.
Flight: One flight from May-June.
Caterpillar Hosts: Plants in the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae) including Eriogonum species.
Adult Food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Sage scrub, chaparral, foothill woodland, rocky hills and outcrops.
Range: Southern Oregon through California to Baja California.
Conservation: Not usually required. Some colonies lost to development and others degraded from effects of exotic grasses and other weeds.
NCGR: G4 - Apparently secure globally, though it might be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL

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.