Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Hermes Copper
Lycaena hermes (W.H. Edwards, 1870)


Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Lycaeninae
Identification: Each hindwing has 1 tail. Upperside brown with yellow-orange patch surrounding black spots. Underside bright yellow; forewing with 4-6 black spots, hindwing with 3-6 black spots.
Wing Span: 1 - 1 1/4 inches (2.5 - 3.2 cm).
Life History: Males perch to watch for females. Eggs are laid singly on twigs of host plant; they hibernate until the following spring. Caterpillars eat young leaves.
Flight: One flight from May-July.
Caterpillar Hosts: Redberry (Rhamnus crocea) in the buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae).
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers of wild buckwheat (Eriogonum) in the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae).
Habitat: Mixed woodlands, chaparral, and coastal sage scrub.
Range: Restricted range from San Diego County and adjacent Baja California Norte.
Conservation: Species of concern for U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Many colonies lost to development or threatened by fire.
NCGR: G3 - Very rare or local throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences). (Threatened throughout its range).
Management Needs: Protect existing colonies from habitat loss and fragmentation.
Comments: NULL

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