A female Small Copper basking at Brandon Marsh © 2010 - 2019 Steven Cheshire.
A tiny jewel of a butterfly, the metallic copper coloured forewings of this small butterfly give it its name. The Small Copper is rarely seen in great numbers. Most colonies consist of a few individuals. The males are highly territorial and will attempt to chase of rivals and even birds in order to protect his territory.
The Small Copper lives in a wide variety of habitats where it is warm and dry, from roadside verges and disused railway lines to moorland and heath.
It is usually found in small colonies often consisting of no more than a few dozen individuals. The numbers of Small Copper fluctuate depending upon the weather. Hot summers will usually boost numbers substantially so long as the larvae foodplant is not affected by drought.
The larvae of the Small Copper feed on Sheep's Sorrel (Rumex acetosella), Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and Broad-leaved Dock (Rumex obtusifolius).
See maps below. Distribution text required.