Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
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2023 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.
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.
|a male, as indicted by the shape of the end of the abdomen and the territorial pose. 25402 is the underside.
|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.
|a standard phlaeas, with rather light upf black markings.
|a third-generation male showing the darker colour of the forewing, only evident in the third generation. 48954 is the underside.
|another third-generation male showing that the lower half of the upf is all but obscured.
|a third generation female, the upf not quite as obscured as 51975, but still clearly more so than the first two generations.
a female, quite clearly on body shape.
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.
|a female, with a lightly marked upf and a few patches of bluish scales on the uph.
|a male, the underside of 48956.
|very possibly a male, based on its behaviour, and on the end of the foreleg which can be seen in the expanded version.
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.
|a male, the underside of 25404.
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.
a female, as it was the underside of 23419. A Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) appears below.
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.