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Small Copper

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Open grassy fields, downlands and even heathland are the places to look for the brilliantly coloured small copper butterfly.


Small Copper: butterfly not policeman

Post date: Wednesday, 13 May, 2015 - 00:00

Open grassy fields, downland and even heathland are the places to look for the brilliantly coloured small copper (Lycaena phlaeas) butterfly. It is not that common but it is widespread and is not unusual in suitable habitat in Dorset.

It is an unusual butterfly in that it has three broods a year, possibly even four in hot years with an Indian summer. That means that you can see them any time from May right through to November. In good years there will be more adults flying from the later broods so they seem far more common in late summer. The larvae feed on sorrel and other species of dock and then overwinter as a larvae which hibernates. Sadly, the small copper really suffers in bad weather and that can have a significant impact on population levels.

A real treat to behold when it opens its wings to soak up the warmth of the sun.


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Small Copper
Scientific Name Lycaena phlaeas
Interest Level
Species Family Lycaenid Butterflies (Blues and Hairstreaks)
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes

This species is often found in these habitats:

Habitat(s) Relationship
H2: Dry Heath/Acid Grassland Mosaic Associated