Small Copper - Lycaena phlaeas - Manto bicolor

Small Copper – Lycaena phlaeas – Manto bicolor

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Scientific name: Lycaena phlaeas
  • English common name: Small Copper
  • Spanish common name: Manto bicolor
  • Portuguese common name: Acobreada

The Small Copper – Lycaena phlaeas – Manto bicolor is a fairly common small butterfly that flies low through meadows. Despite its small size it is easily seen due to the bright orange colours. The colours and patterns do vary through its range but generally he upper fore wings are a strong orange with black spots and a brown trim.

The upper hind wing is the reverse being brown with an orange band at the base. On the underside the fore wing is orange with black spots with a grey brown trim. The hind wing is more plain, grey / brown sometimes with a fine orange wavy line.

Small Copper - Lycaena phlaeas - Manto bicolor
Small Copper – Lycaena phlaeas – Manto bicolor

Some of the variations on the upper wings include; a sooty colour, blue / green sheen, blue spots near the rear orange band.

The caterpillars of this species grow to 1.5cm in length, they can be plain green or with pink stripes.

  • Wing size: 24-30mm
  • Altitude: 0-2400m
  • Flight time: May-October
  • Over-wintering: Caterpillar
  • Caterpillar food plant: Rumex (Dock and Sorrel)
  • Distribution: Widespread in Europe, north Africa

Similar species: Violet Copper (Lycaena helle) the upper wings have a violet sheen, the under side hind wing has black spots ringed in white

Butterflies of Iberia. These are included in the list of butterflies in Andalusia. Images taken in Andalucia, Southern Spain.

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