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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Edith's Copper
Lycaena editha  MEAD, 1878
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe -
Lycaena editha male, Grand Teton national park, Wyoming, USA Frank Model
Introduction
The current classification of the genus Lycaena is unsatisfactory and in need of revision. The genus is loosely split into several unofficial groupings, which ultimately will be classified as sub-genera or new genera. Under existing classification there are about 70 Lycaena species, variously distributed across temperate regions of the world. There are 17 species in North America.
Males of editha are sooty brown with suffused dark spots in the discal cells, and often have a trace of metallic copper scaling around the submarginal lunules on the hindwings. In females the spotting is more prominent, and the wings are flushed with coppery patches. The undersides of males have a grey ground colour, while females are browner and more strongly marked.
Lycaena editha is found in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the central states of the USA.
Lycaena editha male, Grand Teton national park, Wyoming, USA Frank Model
Habitats
This species inhabits damp meadows and fields, streamsides and mountain valleys.
Lifecycle
The egg is greenish-white. It is laid singly on leaves or stems near the base of Rumex or Polygonum plants ( Polygonaceae ). The egg overwinters. The larva hatches in early spring and feeds on the leaves, resting on the under-surface of the leaf. The pupa is pale pinkish, speckled with dark brown.
Adult behaviour

Males perch with wings held half-open on dock leaves and other low vegetation, ready to intercept passing females, which are chased until they settle on the ground. The male then approaches from behind and flutters his wings rapidly for a few seconds before moving alongside to mate.

Both sexes nectar at a wide range of plants, favouring Asteraceae.

Lycaena editha female, Grand Teton national park, Wyoming, USA Frank Model

 

 

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