Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Beauty of the Small Copper

In the past couple of weeks, I have seen several Small Copper butterflies. They are deceptively small butterflies that are in the middle of their second flight period of the year. Whilst, not a rare species nationally I rarely see many each year and each sighting is a treat if you can wait long enough for one to land.

Like many British butterflies, their predominant colour is orange. They have striking speckled patterns on the fore wings and a beautiful band of orange on the edge of the aft wing.


This individual was probably newly emerged as its colours were still vibrant and the wings were perfect with no scale loss. Eggs are laid on dock plants and it is on this abundant plant that the caterpillars feed.

The beauty of the species can only be seen when settled.


Only then is it possible to see the gently striped black and white antennae ending in a black top dipped in yellow/orange.   Close up you can see that the majority of the butterfly is chocolate brown punctuated, like the orange, by black spots. A frill of fine silvery hairs edge both sets of wings.