Small Copper, Cuivré commun, Czerwończyk żarek, Kleiner Feuerfalter, Kleine vuurvlinder (Lycaena phlaeas)

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Small Copper, Cuivré commun, Czerwończyk żarek, Kleiner Feuerfalter, Kleine vuurvlinder (Lycaena phlaeas)

The Small Copper, American Copper, or the Common Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) is a butterfly of the Lycaenids or gossamer-winged butterfly family. According to Guppy and Shepard (2001), its specific name phlaeas is said to be derived either from the Greek Phlego, "to burn up" or from the Latin Floreo, "to flourish".


The upperside forewings are a bright orange with a dark outside edge border and with eight or nine black spots. The hindwings are dark with an orange border. Some females also have a row of blue spots inside the orange border and are known as form caeruleopunctata. The undersides are patterned in a similar way but are paler. The black spots on the forewings are outlined in yellow and the dark colouring is replaced by a pale brownish, gray. The hindwings are the same brown/grey colour with small black dots and a narrow orange border. The caterpillars (larvae) are usually green, but some have a purple stripe down the middle of the back and along each side.


It is widespread and common across Europe, Asia, and North America, and also found in North Africa south through to Ethiopia.

It can be found almost anywhere in south/central England and Wales although never, it seems, in large numbers. Its distribution becomes more patchy in northern England, Scotland and Ireland.


It is found in a wide variety range of habitats from chalk downlands, heathland, woodland clearings to churchyards and waste ground in cities.


In bright sun it is a very active little butterfly with the males setting up small territories which they will defend vigorously against rival males or indeed any unlucky passing insect. Even the shadow of a large bird passing overhead is enough to get him going. Females are pursued mercilessly and mating usually occurs low down in vegetation.

Life cycle

The eggs are laid singly and conspicuously on the upperside of foodplant leaves and the young caterpillar feeds on the underside of the leaf creating "windows" by leaving the upper epidermis of the leaf untouched. Pupation takes place in the leaf litter and the pupa is thought to be tended by ants. There are between two and three broods a year, fewer further north. In exceptionally good years, a fourth brood sometimes occurs in the south and adults can still be seen flying into November. The species overwinters as a caterpillar.


Depending on the habitat, Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and Sheep's Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) are the two main food-plants, although other Docks (Rumex spp.) are occasionally used.

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Comments (18)

Teunis Haveman on May 7, 2012

En deze zag je vandaag Erik ? Mooie opname


gr Teunis

~Marlene~ on May 7, 2012

Beautiful, Erik! Like

Greetings, Marlene

Erik van den Ham on May 7, 2012

Ja Teunisvandaag een stuk of vijf gezien tijdens de lunch. Ze zitten er volop op de plek waar we onze bloemenmengsels hebben uitgezaait. De Schapenzuring die zich er spontaan heeft ontwikkeld en volop aanwezig is waardplant en daarop zitten ze dan ook steeds.

The first for me of this year Marlene I saw these during my lunch break. I think I saw five of these beauties.

Groeten, Regards, Erik

Jack Tol on May 7, 2012

Niet alleen weer mooi dat vlindertje erop, maar ook een prachtige dof en niet te vergeten uitsnede.



els f on May 7, 2012

wow.. zo mooi in dit tegenlicht! like en groetjes, Els

Erik van den Ham on May 7, 2012

Deze kleintjes zie snel over hoofd Jack en Els maar als ze langs fladderen met die felle kleur kan je ze niet missen.

Was vandaag weer heerlijk weer en de vlinders vonden dat duidelijk ook.

Bedankt voor de fijne commentaren.

Groeten, Erik

JennyW on May 7, 2012

Heel mooi Erik, je hebt een geweldige werkplek :)

gr Jenny.

bdeh on May 8, 2012

Schitterende opname van idem vlindertje. Een fraaie omgeving ook voor een lunchpauze Erik. Groeten Berend

Ria Overbeeke on May 8, 2012

Mooi! Geweldig om zo je lunchpauze door te brengen!

tanneke on May 9, 2012

Prachtige foto, wat is ie er mooi voor gaan zitten zeg!Ze vliegen hier (Schouwen) ook rond, maar meer vliegen dan zitten. M-8 en groeten!

Auko Mensinga on May 10, 2012

Prachtige foto van de vuurvlinder Erik YSL Groeten Auko.

Nadia Kushnir on May 10, 2012


Erik van den Ham on May 11, 2012

Hallo Jenny, Berend, Ria, Tanneke en Auko bedankt voor jullie bezoek en leuke commentaren. Groetjes, Erik

Jack Koning on May 12, 2012

Dit is een fraai exemplaar. Perfect gefotografeerd met een mooie scherptediepte. Like, Groete, Jack

© Bear on May 13, 2012

Fraaie close up en mooi met het licht achter de vleugels. like

Rol/Photo/Alsace on May 15, 2012



amitiés, roland

fotopeter45 on May 21, 2012

heel mooie macro.

leuk om te bekijken.


khoi tranduc on May 30, 2012

Very nice! Like!

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on May 7, 2012
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Erik van den Ham