Sirhowy Hill Woodlands

Scientific name: Lycaena phlaeas

Small Copper

Bright copper with brown spots and brown margin. Undersides orange-brown with spots.


The Small Copper is usually seen in ones and twos, but in some years large numbers may be found at good sites. Males are territorial, often choosing a piece of bare ground or a stone on which to bask and await passing females. They behave aggressively towards any passing insects, returning to the same spot when the chase is over.


Though it remains a common and widespread species, the Small Copper declined throughout its range during the twentieth century. Widespread through Britain and Ireland, and occasionally visits gardens.

What does the Small Copper eat?

The Small Copper eats Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and Sheep’s Sorrel (R. acetosella) are the main foodplants. Broad-leaved Dock (R. obtusifolius) may be eat by the Small Copper.

What habitat does the Small Copper live in?

The Small Copper can be found in a wide variety of habitats. Commonly found on chalk or unimproved grassland, heathland, woodland clearings, waste ground and moorland. Warm, dry conditions are favoured.

What family does the Small Copper belong to?

The Small Copper belong to the Lycaenidae family.

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Scientific Name
Lycaena phlaeas

England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland


Small sized

Wingspan Range: 32-35mm


Throughout Britain and Ireland except the uplands of northern Britain. Distribution Trend Since 1970’s: -16%

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