The Small Copper Butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas) is a small butterfly of the Lycaenid family – the gossamer-winged butterflies.
The Small Copper Butterfly has bright metallic orange scales with a dark edged border and with eight or nine black spots. Its hindwings (back wings) are dark with an orange border. Some females have a row of tiny light-blue spots inside the orange border on its hind legs – known as caeruleopunctata. The undersides of its wings are lighter in colour.
The larvae (caterpillars) of the Small Copper Butterfly are usually green.
The adult butterfly grows to about one centimeter (0.4 inch). Its wingspan is about 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) across.
The Small Copper Butterfly is common and widespread across Europe, Asia, North America, and north Africa. The photographed butterflies are from Georgia in the Caucasus Mountains (Lycaena phlaeas eleus caeruleopunctata).
It prefers woodlands, heathlands, highlands and mountains.
The males are territorial, chasing away passing insects.
Females lay eggs singly on plant leaves and the y hatch into caterpillars that feed on the leaves. Caterpillars pupate – they make a chrysalis, which is a casing. Inside the casing, the caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis (changes), and it emerges as an adult butterfly.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM