Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Purplish Copper
Lycaena helloides (Boisduval, 1852)


Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Lycaeninae
Identification: Upperside of male brown with purple iridescence; female more orange. Hindwing of both sexes with broad orange band at margin.
Wing Span: 1 1/8 - 1 1/2 inches (3 - 3.8 cm).
Life History: Males perch and sometimes patrol in low spots for females. Eggs are scattered at the base of the host plant or in litter beneath it. Eggs hibernate; caterpillars feed on leaves.
Flight: Three or four flights in lower elevation California. Two flights in many areas from May-July and from August-October. One flight at high altitude and far northern habitats from July-August.
Caterpillar Hosts: Knotweeds (Polygonum) and docks (Rumex) in the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae), cinquefoils in the rose family (Rosaceae).
Adult Food: Flower nectar.
Habitat: Disturbed areas including roadsides and open fields; wet meadows, marshes, streamsides, and valleys.
Range: Great Lakes area through the northern Midwest and northern plains to British Columbia, south to Baja California. Comments: The distinction between the Purplish Copper and the Dorcas Copper is blurred in the Rocky Mountains. These populations here are considered under the Purplish Copper.
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