Note: This species is referred to by the genus name Epidemia by some authors. The distinction between this species and the Dorcas Copper, Lycaena dorcas, is not clear in some locations, such as in the Rocky Mountains, where the two have been known to hybridize.
This species ranges from Alaska south and east through Canada to the Great Lakes, and from the west coast of the U.S. east through northern Arizona and New Mexico north to South Dakota. It occurs throughout Idaho.
It utilizes a wide variety of habitats, such as disturbed areas, fields, meadows, and marshes.
Caterpillars feed on the leaves of members of the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae),
including knotweed (Polygonum spp.) and docks (Rumex spp.), and
on cinquefoils (Potentilla spp.).
Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar.
Ecology:Eggs overwinter in some locations, and hatch in the spring. The number of generations of caterpillars each summer depends on the location, from only one at higher elevations and the far north to four at low elevations in California. Each caterpillar undergoes four stages of growth, called instars. Caterpillars pupate in the organic debris at the base of their host plants. Pupae or young caterpillars overwinter in a physiological state called diapause in some locations. Adults generally fly from March to November (June through August at high elevations).
Males perch to wait for receptive females, or may actively patrol in search of them. Females lay pale green eggs singly at or near the bases of host plants. The eggs fade in color to white after several days. Females in the laboratory lay their eggs on host plant flowers and fruits.
|Idaho Status:||Unprotected nongame species.|
|Global Rank:||G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.|
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