Edith's Copper - Lycaena editha
[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.
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).
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.
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).
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)
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).
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).
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).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Debinski, D.M., J.C. Caruthers, D. Cook, J. Crowley, and H. Wickham. 2013. Gradient-based habitat affinities predict species vulnerability to drought. Ecology 94(5): 1036-1045.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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"