Lycaena dispar

Large Copper


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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Genève, Switzerland, June 2014

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Genève, Switzerland, June 2014

Field notes and information

A beautiful species. The male upperside is a staggering bright orange red. It is often seen flying rapidly but closer to the breeding areas they seemingly become calmer and take their time to feed and to bask.

As with most wetland species is threatened by habitat loss and it has declined seriously in recent years becoming bsent in many places. It became extinct in the UK in the 1920s due to draining of its lowland habitat and excessive collecting during that period. Successive and long term attempts to reintroduce the species to the UK have failed for many and varied reasons including lack of sufficiently extensive habitat, unsuitability of the subspecies selected for reintroduction (the original British subspecies L. dispar dispar does is extinct) and acclimatisation to the greenhouse environment from which bred butterflies were kept and released.

Identification & Similar species: Male uppersides have black cell spots on bright clear orange ground colour. The undersides are bluish grey with a broad orange band.

Distribution & Flight: Distribution is patchy in France, north Italy, Holland, Germany, Poland and more widespread in central eastern Europe and the Balkans. Single brooded in the north in June/July, double brooded in ths south in June and August.

Habitat & Behaviour: Damp marshy locations. Some individuals wander far from classical habitats and are opportunistic in their use of food plants where they are encountered.

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Genève, Switzerland, June 2014

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UK, June 1984

Captive rearing in a green house for release in the UK. An important moment for me in my early butterfly career.

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Cluj, Romania, May 2009

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Genève, Switzerland, June 2014

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SW Serbia, June 2012

I moved the butterflies when a large spider showed a strong interest in them.

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2015

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2015

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Genève, Switzerland, June 2014

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Genève, Switzerland, June 2014

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Geneva, Switzerland, June 2015

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Genève, Switzerland, June 2014