Lustrous Copper - Lycaena cupreus
[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.
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).
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.
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).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
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).
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).
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).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Brown, F.M. 1957. Colorado Butterflies. Proceedings; Numbers Three through Seven. Denver Museum of Natural History, Denver, Co.
- Debinski, D. 1993. Butterflies of Glacier National Park, Montana. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. No. 159: 1-13.
- 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.
- James, D.G. and D. Nunnallee. 2011. Life histories of Cascadia butterflies. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press. 447 p.
- 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. 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.
- Threatful, D.L. 1988. A list of the butterflies and skippers of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, British Columbia, Canada (Lepidoptera). Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 27(3-4): 213-221.
- Warren, A.D. 2005. Lepidoptera of North America 6: Butterflies of Oregon, their taxonomy, distribution, and biology. Contributions of the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Colorado State University. Fort Collins, Colorado. 406 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.
- Caruthers, J.C., and D. Debinski. 2006. Montane meadow butterfly species distributions in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. University of Wyoming National Park Service Research Center Annual Report, 2006. Vol. 30, Art. 14. 85-96.
- Debinski, D. M. 1991. Inventory and monitoring of biodiversity: an assessment of methods and a case study of Glacier National Park, MT. Ph.D. Dissertation. Montana State University, Bozeman. 205 p.
- Fultz, J.E. 2005. Effects of shelterwood management on flower-visiting insects and their floral resources. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 163 p.
- Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
- Opler, P.A., K. Lotts, and T. Naberhaus, coordinators. 2010. Butterflies and moths of North America. Big Sky Institute, Bozeman, MT. Available at: www.butterfliesandmoths.org (Accessed 15 June 2015).
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