bronze copper

(Lycaena hyllus)

Conservation Status
bronze copper
Photo by Greg Watson
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

N4N5 - Apparently Secure to Secure

S4S5 - Apparently Secure to Secure

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Bronze copper is a medium-sized butterfly but one of the larger coppers (Subfamily Lycaeninae). It occurs in the northern half of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, and in adjacent Canadian provinces. It is common in Minnesota. Adults have a wingspan of to 1½ (23 to 38 mm).

Males and females are similar in appearance except for the upper side of the forewing. On the male the upper side of the forewing is coppery-brown with a purplish iridescent sheen that gradually disappears as the individual ages. There are two dark spots in the forewing cell, a dark cell end bar, a narrow dark band on the outer margin, and a white fringe. Other spots on the forewing are faint, barely visible. On the female the upperside of the forewing is bright yellowish-orange. All of the spots are prominent, black, and bordered with brown. The dark band on the outer margin is much broader. The upper side of the hindwing on both the male and female is dark coppery-brown with a broad orange band on the outer margin, a row of round submarginal spots that fuse with a thin black line on the margin, and a white fringe.

On both sexes the underside of the forewing is orange with black spots and a broad grayish-white band on the outer margin. The underside of the hindwing is the reverse, grayish-white with black spots and a broad orange band on the outer margin.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Wingspan: to 1½ (23 to 38 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

American copper (Lycaena phlaeas) is smaller with a wingspan of no more than 1. The underside of the hindwing is darker and has much less orange.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Open moist areas near water: meadows, marshes, bogs, ditches, edges of ponds

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Two broods: late June to late July and mid-August to early September

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The female lays eggs singly on the leaves of host plants. The eggs of the second brood overwinter and hatch in the spring.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Leaves of dock (Rumex spp.) and knotweed (Polygonum spp.)

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Adults occasionally feed on nectar, including blackberry and red clover.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

21, 24, 29, 30, 75, 82.

 
  7/25/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
  Infraorder Heteroneura  
 

Superfamily

Papilionoidea (butterflies)  
 

Family

Lycaenidae (gossamer-winged butterflies)  
 

Subfamily

Lycaeninae (coppers)  
 

Genus

Lycaena (copper butterflies)  
  Subgenus Epidemia  
       
 

The taxonomy of the family Lycaenidae has long been disputed and continues to be the source of confusion. The two most common approaches to the classification can be termed “lumpers” and “splitters”. Lumpers classify all coppers in the single genus Lycaena, but divide the genus into several subgenera. Splitters raise many subgenera to the genus level and describe many new genera. According to lumpers, the differences between the proposed new genera are trivial, confusing, or nonexistent.

Most splitters place bronze copper in the new genus Tharsalea. Many sources follow this classification, including iNaturalist. Most North American sources do not, including Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA), BugGuide.net, and Moth Photographers Group.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Hyllolycaena hyllus

Lycaena thoe

Papilio hyllus

Tharsalea hyllus

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

bronze copper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

Share your photo of this insect.

 
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Greg Watson

 
    bronze copper   bronze copper  
 

Scott Leddy

 
    bronze copper      
 

Lynn Rubey

 
 

This tiny butterfly didn't stay still for very long but finally came close enough to get this photo as it seemed to like being in the tall grasses that provided more cover for it in The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge between the West Pool and Pool 7.

  bronze copper  
           
 

A Bronze Copper Butterfly in the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

it was fluttering among the tall grasses weaving in and out landing for a few moments on this blade of grass.

  bronze copper  
           
 

A Bronze Copper Butterfly landing on a blade of grass near the edge of the road

being careful with where I stood because my shadow would send it seeking deeper cover.

  bronze copper  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

 

 
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Bronze Copper
Cory Gregory
  Bronze Copper  

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  Bronzed copper butterfly and honeybee forage on Sullivants Milkweed, Marion County, Ohio, USA
Robert Klips
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 25, 2009

Sullivants milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii) is a prairie milkweed hat is uncommon in Ohio but extremely abundant at the Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Marion and Wyandot Counties. Although honeybees are overwhelmingly predominant floral visitors, every so often a butterfly comes to sip nectar from the flowers. Here is a bronzed copper (Lycaena hyllus). Note at the lower left, in and out of view, a 2nd honeybee is trapped, as one or more legs are caught in the slit that is the opening of the stigmatic chamber.

 

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Greg Watson
7/24/2022

Location: La Crescent, MN, backyard

bronze copper  
  Lynn Rubey
8/19/2019

Location: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

A Bronze Copper Butterfly landing on a blade of grass near the edge of the road, being careful with where I stood because my shadow would send it seeking deeper cover.

bronze copper

 
  Lynn Rubey
8/9/2019

Location: Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

This tiny butterfly didn't stay still for very long but finally came close enough to get this photo as it seemed to like being in the tall grasses that provided more cover for it in The Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge between the West Pool and Pool 7.

bronze copper

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

 

 

 

 

Binoculars


Created: 8/22/2019

Last Updated:

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