Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

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2016 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

25404_male_Var_07Jun11 37399_male_Var_24May15 23419_female_Buckinghamshire, UK_8Aug10
10088_female_Var_26Apr08 36989_female_Var_24Apr15 37782_male?_Var_18Jun15
15563_male_Var_29May09 25402_male_Var_07Jun11 20641_female_Gard_12Jun10
23418_female_Buckinghamshire, UK_8Aug10 10079_female_Var_26Apr08 14035_female_Var_28Aug08

A charming little butterfly, quite easy to miss. It is the only representative of the coppers in the UK, and reasonably common in France. It seems to be quite variable, with varying length of tails, sometimes as long as some hairstreaks, and occasionally with blue uph post-discal spots.

In Var it appears very early in the year and seems to disappear in high summer to return later in the year when it holds on well into the Autumn, the Autumn third brood female having the orange restricted to the upper half of the forewing, which makes it appear noticeably darker than earlier broods. The sexes are very similar.
ref sex

observations

alt. m
25404 M a male, as indicted by the shape of the end of the abdomen and the territorial pose. 25402 is the underside. 20
37399 M a rather dark male, perhaps unusual given that this shot was taken on 24 May, whereas the dark forms are usually the later summer third brood. 20
23419 F

a female, quite clearly on body shape.

90
10088 F

a female, based on wing shape, the uph red marginal band seems quite wide to me, and there are a few just-visible blue scales. The "tail" is virtually non-existent.

780
37989 F a female, with a lightly marked upf and a few patches of bluish scales on the uph. 220
37782 M? very possibly a male, based on its behaviour, and on the end of the foreleg which can be seen in the expanded version. 20
15563 M

possibly a male based on the hindwing square shape at the anal angle, and the apparently territorial pose. On studying the magnified image, the end of the foreleg appears to be hooked, which confirms that this is a male. The unf black spots are ringed white, making them stand out.

185
25402 M a male, the underside of 25404. 20
20641 F

On studying the magnified image, the end of the foreleg appears to be articulated and identical to the mid-leg and hind-leg and not hooked, which confirms that this is a female.

60
23418 F

a female, as it was the underside of 23419. A Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) appears below.

90
10079 F

a female, the underside of 10088.

780
14035 F

a female, I suspect, as the wing shape is quite rounded at the anal angle, even though strongly scalloped. The unh marginal band is very strongly rust-coloured.

780

 

25404_male_Var_07Jun11

 

37399_male_Var_24May15

 

23419_female_Buckinghamshire, UK_8Aug10

 

10088_female_Var_26Apr08

 

36989_female_Var_24Apr15

 

37782_male?_Var_18Jun15

 

15563_male_Var_29May09

 

25402_male_Var_07Jun11

 

20641_female_Gard_12Jun10

 

23418_female_Buckinghamshire, UK_8Aug10

 

10079_female_Var_26Apr08

 

14035_female_Var_28Aug08