Lycaena virgaureae

Scarce Copper

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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

Madrid, Spain, July 2011

Male. Presence of spots indicates subspecies miegii.

Photo: virgaureae

SE Serbia, June 2012

Field notes and information

The males of this species are super bright red-orange. When basking with wings open they stand out dramatically in flowery meadows. It is a common butterfly of mountains in the west, becoming more widespread in the eastern Europe.

Identification & Similar species: Males with very bright upperside markings, with black marginal band becoming wider near the apex. Some individuals, and all those in central Spain, have two or three black spots and a cell spot. The underside is characteristic with a row of white spots in the post discal area on an otherwise uniform light brown ground colour.

Distribution & Flight: Mountains of central and northern Spain, France and eastwards through Italy, the Balkans and Scandinavia. Single brooded flying from June to September with peak numbers in July.

Habitat & Behaviour: Flowery meadows, damp places in hills and mountains.

Variation: Variable in many characteristics, particularly the females. Subspecies miegii is found in central Spain. The males have a black cell spot on the upperside forewing and 3 or more spots in an arc near the apex.

Photo: virgaureae

Hautes Alpes, France, August 2012

Female.

Photo: virgaureae

Rila Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Male showing dazzling red upperside - visible across meadows from great distances.

Photo: virgaureae

Rila Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Typical female

Photo: virgaureae

Valais, Switzerland July 2014

Photo: virgaureae

Valais, Switzerland July 2014

Photo: virgaureaePhoto: virgaureaePhoto: virgaureaePhoto: virgaureaePhoto: virgaureaePhoto: virgaureaePhoto: virgaureae

Asturias Mts, Spain, July 2011

Photo: virgaureae

Madrid, Spain, July 2011

Photo: virgaureae

Piedmont, Italy, July 2012

Photo: virgaureaePhoto: virgaureae

SE Serbia, June 2012

Photo: virgaureaePhoto: virgaureaePhoto: virgaureae

Rila Mts, Bulgaria, July 2004

Another view of the stunning male above.

Photo: virgaureae

Piedmont, Italy, July 2012

Photo: virgaureae

Valais, Switzerland, July 2015