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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Edith's Copper - Lycaena editha


Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

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General Description
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.4-1.7 cm. Minute tail on lower hindwing edge. Uppersurface dark gray, uniform on male and sometimes with single black spot on forewing, female variable with yellow spotting. Undersurface gray with large black dots on forewing, hindwing with irregular-shaped brownish dots, white crescent band, orange and brown crescents along margin.

Phenology
One flight; July and August (Scott 1986). June to August (Glassberg 2001). Late June through August in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), mid-June to late August in Oregon (Warren 2005), mid-June to early September in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Best determined by the undersurface of hindwing gray with large black dots on forewing, hindwing with irregular-shaped brownish dots, white crescent band, orange and brown crescents along margin. The pattern is unique.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Range Comments
Western Montana and Idaho south through southeastern Washington to northern Nevada and southern California, east to central Wyoming northeastern Utah, northern Colorado. (Opler and Wright 1999); to 3098 m elevation in the Rocky Mountain states (Ferris and Brown 1981), 1067 m to 2743 m elevation in Oregon (Warren 2005). In Montana, reported from the western 2/5 of the state (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Common to abundant (Glassberg 2001).

Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Moist areas in montane meadows, woodland openings, stream side riparian, sagebrush steppe, roadsides (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of Montana, occupies a wide variety of montane meadow conditions, from wet and dominated by willow and sedge to dry and dominated by sagebrush (Debinski et al. 2013).

Food Habits
Larval food plants include Polygonum and Rumex (Scott 1986, 1992, 2006; Warren 2005; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar, including Achillea, Anaphalis, Arnica, Calochortus, Chrysothamnus, Cirsium, Erigeron, Geranium, Heterotheca, Melilotus, Potentilla, Rudbeckia, and Solidago (Pyle 2002; Scott 2014).

Reproductive Characteristics
Females lay eggs singly at or near the base of host plant on dead leaves, litter, dirt; eggs overwinter (Scott 1979, 1986, 1992, 2006). Eggs hatch post-diapause after 10-14 days. Larvae reach L4 instar and pupate post egg-hatch in 22 days (depending on temperature); adults eclose (emerge from pupae) in 20 days. Larvae feed on host plant leaves, build no nest, are attended by ants (particularly Formica alipetens); adults may live 14-21 days in captivity (James and Nunnallee 2011). Males perch throughout the day on low vegetation in low spots awaiting passing females (Scott 1975b, 1986).

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Edith's Copper — Lycaena editha.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from