Lycaena alciphron

Purple Shot Copper

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

Show butterflies of: EU US
io-header
Photo: alciphron

SE Serbia, June 2012

Photo: alciphron

Montes Universales, Spain, July 2011

Field notes and information

The males have a dramatic violet mauve sheen, that is clearly visible in fresh specimens even when flying. It gives them a unique red-mauve effect as they fly rapidly above vegetation.

Identification & Similar species: The overall mauve colouration of the male is characteristic of this species. In the female, the spots are paired in the forewing post dicsal row. These are a gentle curve in the otherwise similar female purple edged copper, L. hippothoe.

Distribution & Flight: Throughout much of Europe, absent from the UK, Scandinavia, northwest France, much of southern Spain. Only present in north Africa in the High Atlas mountains of Morocco. Single brooded, usually in June and July, although I've found it from mid April in south France.

Habitat & Behaviour: Flowery meadows at low levels to high alpine meadows. Flies rapidly over low vegetation, frequently stopping to feed on flowers.

Variation: Several subspecies are decribed. heracleana: only known from the High Atlas, lacks the mauve sheen. gordius: from Spain and the Alps, is bright orange with reduced mauve-violet sheen. Large black spots on the upperside of the male. melibaeus: Balkans. Reduced violet sheen in the male, large.

Photo: alciphron

Sierra Nevada, Spain, July 2013

Photo: alciphron

Var, France, May 2004 (f)

Photo: alciphron

Sierra Nevada, Spain, July 2013

Photo: alciphronPhoto: alciphron

High Atlas, Morocco, July 2005

Ssp. heracleana .

Photo: alciphronPhoto: alciphron

Var, France, May 2004 (f)

Female underside.

Photo: alciphronPhoto: alciphronPhoto: alciphronPhoto: alciphronPhoto: alciphron

Valais, Switzerland, June 2011

Photo: alciphronPhoto: alciphron

Var, France, May 2012

Photo: alciphronPhoto: alciphron

Madrid, Spain, July 2011

Photo: alciphron

Piedmont, Italy, June 2011

Photo: alciphron

Valais, Switzerland, June 2012