Small copper- Lycaena phlaeas

Small copper upperside.

Family: Lycaenidae

Flight Time: May - October

Size: 24-30mm

Altitude: 0-2400m



This was taken in the ForÍt de Lorge, NW France. In the summer of 1997. The butterfly above is sat on Scabious which nicely complements its colours. Widespread in Europe, and very active, like most coppers.

The underside pictured right is somewhat paler than is usual.

The Small copper caterpillar feeds on Dock. Unlike a lot of other species the young caterpillar eats the surface of the leaves, which results in a characteristic feeding pattern on the leaf, pictured right.

Between bouts of feeding the older caterpillars rest at the bottom of the plant, often hiding in leaf litter. Pictured below.

Small copper larvae resting


Small copper feeding damage


Fact File

Similar Species Foodplants Habitat Distribution

Lycaena tityrus

Rumex species. Dock and Sorrel.


Small copper distribution.

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Early Stages


Small copper ova Small copper larva Small copper pupa


© All pictures in these pages copyright to Simon Coombes. Permission must be sought and obtained for any use.