Lycaena phlaeas

Small Copper


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

Show butterflies of: EU US
Photo: phlaeas44.jpg

Prov. Malaga, Spain, July 2013

Photo: phlaeas61.jpg

Malaga, Spain, May 2019

Field notes and information

Very widespread. Often found singly but can be common to abundant depending on locality and time of year.

Identification & Similar species: The underside is quite distinctive, the small black spots are not circled white and the submarginal red band is near continuous and thin. There is usually a tail on the hind wing. The upperside hindwing is dark brown with a bright solid band of orange, often with blue markings. Many of these features are shared with a few other coppers, Lycaena, but together they are distinctive.

Distribution & Flight: Throughout all of Europe and north Africa, from low levels to alpine meadows. It flies throughout the warmer months in a succession of broods.

Habitat & Behaviour: Diverse, although usually in flowery places. They fly fast and low, settling frequently to sun themselves.

Variation: Variable in most aspects. Frequently with blue spots on the upper hindwing. Orange is often reduced on the upperside in summer broods.

Photo: phlaeas14.jpg

NW Greece, August 2008

Photo: phlaeas65.jpgPhoto: phlaeas66.jpg

La Palma, Spain, August 2021

Photo: phlaeas73.jpg

El Hierro, Spain, August 2021

Photo: phlaeas62.jpg

Middle Atlas, Morocco, August 2019

Photo: phlaeas74.jpg

N Norway, July 2022

Photo: phlaeas75.jpg

Valais, Switzerland, July 2022

Photo: phlaeas54.jpg

Gennargentu, Sardinia, Italy, July 2015

Photo: phlaeas42.jpg

Prov. Malaga, Spain, July 2013

Photo: phlaeas33.jpgPhoto: phlaeas31.jpgPhoto: phlaeas34.jpg

Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

Photo: phlaeas72.jpg

La Gomera, Spain, August 2021

Photo: phlaeas38.jpg

Anti-Atlas, Morocco, April 2013

Photo: phlaeas40.jpg

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Photo: phlaeas53.jpg

Crete, Greece, April 2014

Photo: phlaeas59.jpg

Gran Canaria, Spain, March 2016

Photo: phlaeas35.jpg

Corsica, France, July 2012

Photo: phlaeas37.jpg

Agadir, Morocco, April 2013