Lycaena tityrus

Sooty Copper


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

Show butterflies of: EU US
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Digne les Bains, France, May 2022

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Piedmont, Italy, July 2012

Field notes and information

Widespread and frequently encountered across most of Europe, absent from the UK, Scandinavia and much of Spain.

Identification & Similar species: The dark upperside hindwing eliminates most similar species. Males are sooty black on the upperside. On the underside, a double band of black marginal spots on both wings and a rather uniform greyish ground colour help distinguish the species. The very similar blue sooty copper, L. bleusei, flies in central spain. The species do not overlap. It is separated by the orange on the upperside forewing of the male.

Distribution & Flight: Most of Europe except most of Spain, UK and Scandinavia. It flies in a series of broods through the warmer months.

Habitat & Behaviour: Diverse but usually flowery grassy meadows in grassland, woodland or at alpine levels.

Variation: Extent of orange colouration and markings all vary. At high altitudes, subspecies subalpina flies in which both sexes are very sooty.

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S Greece, June 2013

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Vaud, Switzerland, September 2020

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2021

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Bern, Switzerland, July 2020

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Vaud, Switzerland, June 2020

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Peloppensos, Greece, July 2018

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Valais, Switzerland, June/July 2007

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S Greece, June 2013

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Piedmont, Italy, July 2012

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Macedonia, Greece, May 2004 (f)

Extremely orange female.

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Vaud, Switzerland, April/ May 2010

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2009

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Cluj, Romania, June 2006