Scarce Copper (Lycaena virgaureae)

Scarce Copper

The Scarce Copper, Lycaena virgaureae, is a butterfly of the family Lycaenidae.

A generation appears from mid-July to mid-September. Eggs are laid on dried-out plant parts, for example on dry sorrel stems. The eggs are white in color and somewhat larger than those of other Lycaena species. The caterpillars are green and nocturnal and eat sorrel. The Scarce Copper is the only species of this genus whose eggs last over the winter. The butterflies feed on blossoms of such plants as the ground-elder, Eupatorium, Valeriana, and burnet saxifrage.

The Scarce Copper lives preferably on flower-rich, dry and damp meadows in Central Europe. In Spain it is found in the Pyrenees and in the Cantabrian Mountains. In southern France it is found in the Massif Central. Its area of distribution reaches the Arctic Circle in Fennoscandia in the north; in the south it reaches north and northwest Greece. In Belgium there are a few threatened populations in the south of the country. It is not found, however, on the British Isles or the Netherlands. It can be found as far east as Mongolia. The Scarce Copper is found at elevations of 1,000 to 2,000 meters.

Source: - 29.06.2011


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