Large Copper (Lycaena dispar)

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2021 photographs highlighted in yellow. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

20328_male_Rhône_30May10 20314_female_Rhône_30May10 20353_female_Rhône_30May10

The male upperside is a resplendent bright coppery-red very similar to the Scarce Copper (L. virgaureae), although dispar has small and narrow but distinct black discal marks on both the upf and uph. Virgaureae sometimes has very faint marks in these positions, but is usually a butterfly of the mountains - Lafranchis says minimum 500m altitude but exceptionally can be lower - whereas dispar has an altitude range of 0-400m, so it is hard to imagine where they could geographically overlap. The female upperside has the “typical” female copper pattern on the upf and is significantly larger than the male.

Prior to 2010 I had only seen dispar on a few occasions in the département of Dordogne. In 2010 I visited a site in the Rhône département where dispar was flying, the females being freshly emerged and the males showing slight signs of wear. I subsequently learned in October that the field in which they had been flying had been mowed. Whether this is a regular feature and whether this has been undertaken a the wrong time of year, I do not know. Maybe they breed nearby and can recolonise the mowed field, but I would not be optimistic about this,

ref sex


alt. m
20328 M

a male, showing slight signs of wear, but still fiery orange.

20314 F

a female, quite typical in my limited experience.

20353 F

a female, quite lightly marked in comparison to 20314.

20304 F

a female, nice contrast between the orange and grey.