Gray Copper - Lycaena dione
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 1.8-2.2 cm. A large copper. Uppersurface dark gray, forewing with two black cell spots, hindwing with pale orange and black zigzag border on outer edge, orange invading forwing margin in male. Undersurface gray with black spots, prominent wide red-orange hindwing marginal band.
One flight; mid-June and July (Scott 1986). Mid-June and July north to the Dakotas, July to mid-August in Alberta and Saskatchewan (Glassberg 2001). Late June to late July in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978), mid-June to early September (Pyle 2002), mid-July to mid-August in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).
Best determined by a combination of the Uppersurface dark gray, forewing with two black cell spots, hindwing with pale orange and black zigzag border on outer edge; undersurface gray with black spots, prominent wide red-orange hindwing marginal band.
Southern Alberta east across southern Canada to the Great Lakes region of Ontario, south in the east to Oklahoma, central Missouri, southern Illinois, south in the west through northern Idaho and Montana to northern Texas, northeastern New Mexico, eastern Colorado (Scott 1986; Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002); to about 2200 m elevation in the Rocky Mountain states but more abundant lower (Ferris and Brown 1981), 1310 m to 1645 m elevation in Colorado (Scott and Scott 1978). In Montana, reported from most counties east of the mountains, a few counties west of the continental divide (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Uncommon to locally common in the west (Glassberg 2001).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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Abandoned and fallow fields, pastures, moist meadows, open grassy areas along ponds, ditches, and streams, marshy lakeshores (Opler and Wright 1999; Glassberg 2001; Pyle 2002). Habitat for Montana not described but probably similar.
Larval food plants include Polygonum (possibly) and at least five species of Rumex (Scott 1986, 1992,2006; Guppy and Shepard 2001). Adults feed on flower nectar, including Apocynum, Asclepias, Carduus, Cirsium, Clematis, Medicago, Melilotus, Ratibida, Symphoricarpos, Trifolium, and Verbena (Guppy and Shepard 2001; Scott 2014).
Females lay eggs singly on dead host plant stems, dead leaves, at stem base, in litter, on dead twigs; eggs overwinter, larvae build no nest, pupate in loose cocoon with dirt particles apparently in litter (Scott 1979, 1986, 1992, 2006). Males perch throughout the day 1 m or less above the ground beside trails awaiting females, sometimes patrol in low areas in fields, beside streams, court females on flowers (Scott 1975b, 1986).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.
- Glassberg, J. 2001. Butterflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Western North America. Oxford University Press.
- Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia: including western Alberta, southern Yukon, the Alaska Panhandle, Washington, northern Oregon, northern Idaho, northwestern Montana. UBC Press (Vancouver, BC) and Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, BC). 414 pp.
- Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
- Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.
- Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia: a field guide to all the species of Washington, Oregon, and surrounding territories. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington. 420 pp.
- Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
- Scott, J.A. 1979. Hibernal diapause of North American Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 18(3): 171-200.
- Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
- Scott, J.A. 1992. Hostplant records for butterflies and skippers (mostly from Colorado) 1959-1992, with new life histories and notes on oviposition, immatures, and ecology. Papilio new series #6. 185 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2006. Butterfly hostplant records, 1992-2005, with a treatise on the evolution of Erynnis, and a note on new terminology for mate-locating behavior. Papilio new series #14. 74 p.
- Scott, J.A. 2014. Lepidoptera of North America 13. Flower visitation by Colorado butterflies (40,615 records) with a review of the literature on pollination of Colorado plants and butterfly attraction (Lepidoptera: Hersperioidea and Papilionoidea). Contributions of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthopod Diversity. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 190 p.
- Scott, J.A. and G.R. Scott. 1978. Ecology and distribution of the butterflies of southern central Colorado. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 17(2): 73-128.
- Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies: including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Unpubl. Report. Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado 275 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden: a field guide to the butterfly caterpillars of North America. Oxford University Press.
- Brock, J.P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.
- Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
- Additional Sources of Information Related to "Insects"