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.


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.


Common Name Small Copper
Scientific Name Lycaena phlaeas
Interest Level
Related Species - CLICK TO VIEW Lycaenid Butterflies (Blues and Hairstreaks)
Look for

This species has been seen at the following sites featured on the Nature of Dorset:

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