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Montana Field Guides

Lustrous Copper - Lycaena cupreus


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

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General Description
[Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.3-1.5 cm. Uppersurface iridescent red or red-orange with broad black wing borders and scattered black spots; undersurface of forewing pale orange with scattered black spots, hindwing cream to gray with bold black spots, submarginal black dots at hindwing apex leading to thin submarginal orange zigzag.

Phenology
One flight; late June to mid-August (Scott 1986). Mainly July to August, but also June at lower elevations and in California (Glassberg 2001). July to early September in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain states (Scott and Scott 1978; Ferris and Brown 1981), mid-May to late August in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002; Warren 2005), mid-July to late August in British Columbia (Threatful 1988; Guppy and Shepard 2001).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by the brilliant copper uppersurface with broad black border and spots, undersurface of hindwing cream to gray with bold black spots, submarginal black dots at hindwing apex leading to thin submarginal orange zigzag.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
Central British Columbia south in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada to central California, central Alberta south in the Rocky Mountains to extreme northern New Mexico (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002); 3000 m to at least 3962 m elevation in Colorado (Brown 1957; Scott and Scott 1978; Ferris and Brown 1981), well below treeline (to 2000 m elevation ) in the Rockies north of Colorado (Ferris and Brown 1981), 1067 m to 2438 m elevation in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002; Warren 2005), 2017 m to at least 2225 m elevation in southeastern British Columbia (Threatful 1988). In Montana, widespread in the mountains of the western half of the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Common in the California Sierra Nevada, rare to uncommon elsewhere (Glassberg 2001).

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 5

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Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Montane meadows, sagebrush steppe, roadsides, above treeline in alpine rockslides (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). In Glacier National Park, Montana reported above treeline in alpine terrain (Debinski 1993).

Food Habits
Larval food plants include Oxyria digyna and several species of Rumex (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986, 1992; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar, including Achillea, Arnica, Cistanthe, Erigeron, Geum, Haplopappus, Potentilla, Senecio, and Taraxacum (Pyle 2002; Warren 2005; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly on host plant flowers and leaves or nearby on rocks (Scott 1986, 1992; James and Nunnallee 2011). Eggs hatch in about 5 days, reach L2 instar about 8 days after egg-laying, L3 instar in about 13 days after egg-laying develop to L4 instar then leave host plant to pupate. Pupation occurs on underside of nearby rock. Larvae eat host plant leaves, build no nest (Scott 1979, 1986, 1992; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males territorial, perch throughout the day in meadows on low vegetation or on ground, in hollows and protected places in rock slides, while awaiting females; sometimes patrol in search of them (Scott 1975b, 1986; Warren 2005).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Lustrous Copper — Lycaena cupreus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from