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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Lilac-bordered Copper
Lycaena nivalis  BOISDUVAL, 1869
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe -
Lycaena nivalis, Mouse Creek, 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.
Both sexes of nivalis are easily identified from their lilac-edged pale yellow underside hindwings. On the upperside males are pale earthy brown with a pinkish-copper iridescence. Females are bright metallic copper with dark borders, and have prominent black spots in the usual Lycaena pattern.
Lycaena nivalis is found in the western states of the USA.
Habitats
This species inhabits open woodland, rocky valley bottoms and sagebrush, usually close to streams.
Lifecycle
The egg is bluish-white. It is laid singly on leaves or stems of Polygonum ( Polygonaceae ). When fully grown the larva is green, with a yellow-edged red line along the back. The pupa is pale buff, speckled with brown.
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.

Lycaena nivalis male, Phillips Ridge, Teton Pass, Wyoming, USA Frank Model

 

 

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