|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Lycaena plaeas (L., 1761)|
Common name: Small copper, common copper
Lycaena phlaeas is a medium size butterfly very common in Crete. 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 brown/grey colour with an orange border, with small black dots and a narrow orange border. I post a picture in WS. 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 elicit a response. Females are pursued and mating usually occurs in vegetation.
Females and males are distinguished by copper band in hind wings. That in WS is a female.
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.
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
|You must be logged in to start a discussion.|