Small Copper - Lycaena phlaeas


The Small Copper is a small, fast flying butterfly that, once settled, is unmistakable with its bright copper-coloured forewings.

Identification difficulty

This butterfly favours open land where nectar sources and food plant are found. Such habitats include grassland, wasteland, heathland, old quarries, embankments, road verges and woodland rides.

When to see it

April/May to October.

Life History

There are typically 2 or 3 generations each year, depending on the weather, with 4 generations in extremely good years. The first adults emerge in May, occasionally at the end of April, with the last adults being seen around the middle of October, depending on location. The main larval foodplants are Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and Sheep's Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) though Broad-leaved Dock (Rumex obtusifolius) is also used. It overwinters in the larval stage and pupates in April.

UK Status

This butterfly occurs in discrete colonies throughout the British Isles.

VC55 Status

Declining and becoming more uncommon in Leicestershire and Rutland although still quite frequent at present.

61.001 BF1561

Our Champion for the Small Copper is John Clarkson

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map