Lycaena heteronea
Blue Copper

Note: This species is referred to with the genus name Chalceria by some authors.


Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.

Global Rank: G5; most populations are widespread, abundant, and secure. However, subspecies clara of southern California is ranked T2, imperiled and vulnerable to extinction.


Range: This species ranges from southern British Columbia south to central California and southeast to northern Arizona and New Mexico. It occurs through most of Idaho.

It occurs in open areas such as prairies, sagebrush steppe, and open woodlands.


Eggs overwinter and hatch in the spring. There is one generation of caterpillars each summer. Young caterpillars feed on the undersides of leaves. Each caterpillar undergoes four stages of growth, called instars. Adults generally fly from June through August in most of its range. This species, a Copper, looks very much like the Euphilotes Blues. Both utilize buckwheats (Eriogonum spp.).

Males may either perch or actively patrol in search of receptive females. Females lay white eggs singly on bracts or under leaves of host plants.


Ballmer, G. R. and G. F. Pratt. 1988. A survey of the last instar larvae of the Lycaenidae of California. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 27:1-81.

Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

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. (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.