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The Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) is a striking butterfly species known for its vibrant orange coloration and distinctive markings. Here’s some information about this beautiful butterfly:

  1. Appearance: The Small Copper has a wingspan ranging from 22 to 30 millimeters, making it a relatively small butterfly. It is characterized by its bright orange wings with black markings and a row of small black spots along the wing margins. The undersides of the wings are brownish-gray with orange markings and a series of black spots.
  2. Habitat: Small Coppers are commonly found in a variety of open habitats, including grasslands, meadows, heathlands, and scrublands. They prefer areas with abundant nectar sources and suitable host plants for their caterpillars.
  3. Distribution: Small Coppers are distributed throughout much of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. They are also found in parts of North America, where they have been introduced.
  4. Behavior: Small Coppers are active butterflies that fly close to the ground, often perching on low vegetation or basking in the sun. They have a rapid and erratic flight pattern, making them challenging to follow. Males are territorial and may engage in aerial battles with other males to defend their territories.
  5. Life Cycle: The life cycle of the Small Copper consists of four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult. The female lays eggs on the leaves of host plants, which are typically species in the docks and sorrels family (Rumex spp.). The caterpillars feed on the leaves of the host plants before pupating and emerging as adult butterflies.
  6. Food: Adult Small Coppers feed primarily on the nectar of flowers, particularly those of low-growing plants such as clover, thistles, and dandelions. The caterpillars feed on the leaves of host plants, which provide essential nutrients for their growth and development.
  7. Conservation: While Small Coppers are not considered globally threatened, they may face habitat loss and degradation due to agricultural intensification, urbanization, and changes in land management practices. Conservation efforts aimed at preserving and restoring their natural habitats are important for ensuring the continued survival of Small Copper populations.

Overall, the Small Copper is a charming and widespread butterfly species known for its bright coloration and distinctive flight behavior. Observing these butterflies in their natural habitat can provide a delightful experience and an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature.

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