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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Purplish Copper
Lycaena helloides  BOISDUVAL, 1852
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe -
Lycaena helloides male, Taggart Lake, 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.
This species is easily confused with dorcas, but has a more pointed apex and the post-median spots are further away from the wing base. The purple iridescence of males varies in intensity from one individual to another, and is almost absent in some specimens. Females are orange with broad dark margins and more heavily spotted than males. They are normally devoid of any purple sheen, and have more rounded wings.
Lycaena helloides is found in Alaska, western Canada, and over most of the northern and western states of the USA.
Habitats
This species inhabits meadows and fields, lakesides and other damp habitats, woodland glades and coastal marshes.
Lifecycle
The egg is greenish-white. It is laid singly on the leaves of Polygonum or Rumex ( Polygonaceae ). When fully grown the larva is green, with yellowish lateral and dorsal stripes, and oblique yellow bars along the sides. The pupa is yellowish-green with a thin black dorsal line and cream coloured wing pads.
Adult behaviour

Males perch with wings held half-open in shallow depressions, ready to intercept passing females. Both sexes nectar at a wide range of plants, but have a fondness for Achillea ( Asteraceae ).

Lycaena helloides male Taggart Lake, Grand Teton national park, Wyoming, USA Frank Model

 

 

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