Note: This species is listed with the genus name Gaeides by some authors. Some authors consider this species to be a subspecies of Lycaena xanthoides, the Great Copper.
This species ranges in Canada from southern Alberta east to southern Manitoba, and in the U.S. from northern Idaho east to Minnesota, extending south to northern Texas and central Missouri and Illinois. In Idaho, it has been documented only in Bonner County.
It occurs in open, grassy areas, such as fields, prairies, meadows, and marshes.
Caterpillars feed on the leaves of a variety of docks (Rumex spp.).
Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar, often from milkweed (Asclepias spp.) and thistle (Cirsium spp.).
Eggs overwinter and hatch in the spring, and the resulting brood is the only generation of caterpillars each year. Each caterpillar undergoes four stages of growth, called instars. Adults generally fly from mid-May through July or August. Butterflies exhibit a fast and erratic flight pattern, can be aggressive towards other butterflies, and are most active in the afternoon. They tend to stay in the same general location during their lifespan.
Males perch to wait for receptive females. Females lay pale green eggs singly at or near the bases of host plants. The eggs turn white before hatching.
|Idaho Status:||Unprotected nongame species.|
|Global Rank:||G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.|
Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/bflyusa.htm (Version 05Nov98).
Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies. Second Edition. Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.
Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.
Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.
Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.