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Species Lycaena helloides - Purplish Copper - Hodges#4262

Skipper to ID - Lycaena helloides - male A second skipper to ID. - Lycaena helloides - male Purplish Copper - Lycaena helloides - female Butterfly - Lycaena helloides - female Lycaena helloides male? - Lycaena helloides - female butterfly - Lycaena helloides Purplish Copper - Lycaena helloides Lycaena helloides on Sisymbrium loeselii - Lycaena helloides
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Lycaenidae (Blues, Coppers, Hairstreaks, Harvesters)
Subfamily Lycaeninae (Coppers)
Genus Lycaena
Species helloides (Purplish Copper - Hodges#4262)
Hodges Number
4262
Identification
Males' brown above with purplish refraction and dark spots. Pyle (1) observes that males have the structural ability "to go from penny-brown to neon-purple in the flash of a sunbeam...". Darker margins in both sexes.
Females with orange above, and with dark spots generally stronger than in males.
Dorsal and ventral HW margin with orange lunules in both sexes.
Distinguished from the similar Dorcas Copper (L. dorcas) by the extensive orange band on the edge of the hindwing upperside (vs. reduced orange band in Dorcas Copper), and the grayish-yellow underside of the wings (vs. brownish-orange in Dorcas Copper)
Range
United States and southern Canada from Ontario, Ohio, and Missouri west to the Pacific in California and southern British Columbia. Enters Mexico in mountains of northern Baja California.
Habitat
moist areas where the larval hosts, species of Knotweed (Polygonum) and Dock (Rumex) grow.
Season
In most areas adults fly from spring through summer and fall in at least two or three broods.
Food
Larval foodplants: mainly species of Knotweed (Polygonum) and Dock (Rumex in family Polygonaceae, perhaps Cinquefoils (Dasiphora fruticosa & Potentilla species) in family Rosaceae.
Remarks
Very similar to, highly confused with, and perhaps not specifically distinct from 'Dorcas Copper' (Lycaena dorcas). The separation of the two "species" is difficult and based largely on location and habitat. The host plants may be consistently different (Polygonaceae for L. helloides and Rosaceae [and perhaps Ericaceae] for L. dorcas), but records are confused, and this is still not entirely certain.

Populations from higher elevations in the Rockies are sometimes treated as L. dorcas instead of the more traditional placement under L. helloides. This is the treatment used in the 'Butterflies of America' site, and is currently followed here.
Print References
Pyle(2002)(1)
Guppy & Shepard(2001)(2)
Scott(1986) (3)
James & Nunnallee (2011) (4) - excellent source of information on biology & immatures.
Works Cited
1.The Butterflies of Cascadia: A Field Guide to All the Species of Washington, Oregon, and Surrounding Territories
Robert Michael Pyle, Idie Ulsh, David Nunnallee. 2002. Seattle Audubon Society.
2.Butterflies of British Columbia
Crispin S. Guppy, Jon H. Shepard. 2001. UBC Press.
3.The Butterflies of North America
James A. Scott. 1986. Stanford University Press.
4.Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies
David G. James and David Nunnallee. 2011. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR.