Butterflies of Europe
Sooty Copper
Lycaena tityrus  PODA, 1761
subfamily - LYCAENINAE
Sooty Copper Lycaena tityrus, male, Őrség NP, Hungary © Peter Bruce-Jones

There are over 70 species of Copper butterfly in the genus Lycaena, the vast majority of which are found in the Holarctic region ( North America, Europe and the part of Asia north of the Himalayas ). There are also however at least 5 species in Africa including the Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas, and several in the Oriental region. Additionally there is a single species in Papua New Guinea, and no less than 4 in New Zealand. Australia and South America each have the great misfortune to have not even a single species of this exquisite genus of butterflies.

All Lycaena species are small and of similar shape, and all but a tiny handful have a shimmering fiery copper sheen on their uppersides.

There are 12 species in Europe, of which tityrus is one of the most common, occuring over most of southern and central Europe. It also occurs across much of temperate ( Holarctic ) Asia.

Sooty Copper Lycaena tityrus, female, Orfalu, Őrség, Hungary © Peter Bruce-Jones


This adaptable species is found in a wide variety of habitats including flowery meadows, dry scrub, damp forest clearings and sub-alpine pastures, at elevations between about 50-2400m.


The larval foodplants are Rumex acetosa and scutatus ( Polygonaceae ).

Adult behaviour

The adults have a rapid erratic flight. They bask with wings partially open on low herbage.

Sooty Copper Lycaena tityrus, Bulgaria © Emily Halsey


Contact  /  About me

Butterfly-watching holidays

Trip reports

UK latest sightings

Frequently asked questions

Strange but true !

Taxonomy & Evolution



Enemies of butterflies

Survival strategies

Migration & dispersal

Habitats - UK / Palaearctic

Habitats - Tropical rainforests

Butterfly world census

Butterflies of the World :

British Isles


Amazon & Andes

North America

temperate Asia


Indian subcontinent

Malaysia & Borneo

Papua New Guinea

Australia & N.Z.

Insects of Britain & Europe

Insects of Amazonia

Moths of the Andes

Saturniidae - Silkmoths

Caterpillars of the World

Butterfly Photography

Recommended Books



Code of practice

Copyright - text & images

Copyright - text & images






All photographs, artwork, text & website design are the property of Adrian Hoskins ( unless otherwise stated ) and are protected by Copyright. Photographs or text on this website must not be reproduced in part or in whole or published elsewhere without prior written consent of Adrian Hoskins / learnaboutbutterflies.com

Site hosted by Just Host