Lycaena hippothoe

Purple Edged Copper

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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

Vaud, Switzerland, June 2007

Photo: hippothoe

Valais, Switzerland, July 2009

Form eurydame, lacking purple hues.

Field notes and information

Some males of this species can be absolutely stunning, a rich deep orange-red with dramatic irredescent purple flushes.

Identification & Similar species: The upperside of the males is distinctive. Can be difficult to separate from the underside from the purple shot copper L. alciphron and the females can be difficult too. The spots in the forewing post discal row are paired in alciphron and form a gentle arc in hippothoe.

There is a transition zone in the middle Balkans across Serbia and Bulgaria where this species overlaps with the Balkan copper, L. candens. The species are very similar, distribution being a key factor in identification. That species is larger however and the male genetalia are distinct.

Distribution & Flight: Alps and northwards, central France and northern Spain from roughly 500m up to high alpine levels. It flies in a single brood in the west and north and two broods in eastern Europe.

Habitat & Behaviour: Damper meadows with flowers.

Variation: Several subspecies are named. hippothoe: sports the purple flush in the male. eurydame: from the Alps lacks the purple flush. Females are generally very dark brown, lacking any orange. stiberi: from central Scandinavia and north is brighter orange.

Photo: hippothoe

Valais, Switzerland, July 2011

Photo: hippothoePhoto: hippothoePhoto: hippothoe

Valais, Switzerland, June/ July 2007

Photo: hippothoe

Valais, Switzerland, June 2015

Photo: hippothoe

Valais, Switzerland July 2014

Photo: hippothoe

Valais, Switzerland, June 2015

Photo: hippothoePhoto: hippothoe

Vaud, Switzerland, May 2011

Photo: hippothoePhoto: hippothoe

Valais, Switzerland July 2014

Photo: hippothoePhoto: hippothoePhoto: hippothoe

Vaud, Switzerland, May 2011

Egg laying.

Photo: hippothoe

Hautes Alpes, France, July 2013

Photo: hippothoePhoto: hippothoe

Valais, Switzerland, July 2011