American Copper, Lycaena phlaeas

American Copper

Lycaena phlaeas

The forewing above is orange with black spots and a grayish-black border. The hind wing above is mainly dark gray with an orange border. Below, the front wing is similar to the upper surface but a lighter shade of orange, while the hind wing below is a much lighter shade of gray, with black dots throughout and a zigzag submarginal line.

Open areas, including lawns and old fields where its host plant, Sheep Sorrel grows.

Overwintering Strategy:   Chrysalis

Usually 3-4 broods per year, with the first occurring in late May or early June, and then lasting until October in some years

The American Copper flies a foot or two off the ground in rather quick sorties from one nectar source or perch to another. Being only an inch in wingspan, the American Copper would seem to be a seldom-observed species, but its colorful coppery wings give away its position.

Overwintering Strategy

Two-way migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to Central Mexico
Small migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to southern US
Immigrant: Adult migrates into Wisconsin from warmer areas and don't fly south in winter
Adult Butterfly: Hibernates overwinter as an adult butterfly
Eggs: Eggs laid on stems, twigs or foot plants overwinter in diapause
Caterpillar: Caterpillars make nests on the base of plants and hibernate until spring
Chrysalis: Caterpillars shed their last skin, form a chrysalis and enter diapause.

For more information, read: Where Do Butterflies Go In Winter?

Further Information:   

 Design A Butterfly Garden
 Take The Butterfly Quiz
 Monarch Life Cycle
 Butterflies and Moths of North America
 Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Assn (NABA)
 The Butterfly Site

Bees flying footer graphic