Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae)
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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.
|23154_male_Valais, Switzerland_26Jul10||8453_male_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul07||18613_male_Isère_14Jul09|
|3117_female_Alpes-Maritimes_25Jul06||22957_female_Valais, Switzerland_24Jul10||23218_female_Valais, Switzerland_26Jul10|
A breathtakingly beautiful mountain butterfly. The burning red-orange male upperside, especially in fresh specimens (most visible in 18613), makes this one of the most strikingly coloured butterflies, the orange framed by jet black margins which extend slightly along the veins, and small marginal spots on the uph which are usually joined to the margins. The male virgaureae is superficially very similar to the male of the high altitude subspecies eurydame of the Purple-edged Copper (L. hippothoe). The female is marked in the "usual" female copper pattern.
The underside is quite distinctive, with a row of black-centred white spots of varying size in the unh post-discal band. It’s name is completely inaccurate as it isn’t scarce at altitude, and in many areas it is quite common.
In the higher reaches of the southern Alpes, the subspecies montanus occurs. The male has wider black borders and the female has rather suffused markings.
a male, probably of the subspecies montanus, judging by the width of the black borders.
a male, also very probably of the subspecies montanus, for the same reason as 23154.
a male, perhaps showing a little more of the fiery orange colour that makes this butterfly so spectacular in flight. This is probably of the nominate species, not the subspecies montanus.
a standard female of the nominate species, slightly lighter markings than indicated in the books.
a very dusky female of the subspecies montanus, with heavily suffused markings.
a female of the subspecies montanus, described in T&L as "variant" (whatever that means).
|39148||F||a female, fairly typical.||1600|
|42008||F||a female, rather darker then 39148, but not as dusky as 22957.||1400|
|38238||M||a male underside, with rather lightly marked white spots.||1230|
|27554||M||a male underside, unusually pale.||2160|
|26603||F||a female underside, by contrast extremely red.||1400|