Sunday, 16 September 2018

The Feisty Small Copper !

Small Copper  Lycaena phlaeas

Its that bright coppery orange fore wing that usally catches your eye, this feisty little butterfly can often be seen on its chosen vantage point overlooking its territory.

The males in particular are very territorial, chasing off other insects, butterflies of all sizes,and then returning to there vantage point where they await the appearance of a female. I witnessed a male chase off a Brown Argus, a Common Blue, a Small White as well as other male Small Coppers.

I was fortunate enough to come across a pair of Small Coppers in courtship. I was under the impression that the larger of the two was the male, as it seemed to be making all the dominant moves, in particular crawling after the smaller, brighter coloured individual, which at first did not seem to interested in the idea of courtship.

This was not the case though, according to my field guide its the female that is larger than the male, this slightly worn female was obviously keen on mating with this fresh, brightly coloured male it appears.

This female spent some time pursuing the male around this dead thistle head, there was a brief coupling, but the male left the scene leaving the female still crawling around the thistle head.

There were plenty of other sightings on this warm sunny afternoon, providing me with various photo opportunities on different wild flower scenario's

There were a few other small butterflies on view, Brown Argus gave some similar views, the usual Common Blue. But the Small Coppers were definitely the dominant species chasing these away time after time.

female Common Blue

Brown Argus

Brown Argus

Male Common Blue

Small Copper
Autumn and winter are drawing near, here in the south of the country these Small Coppers can still be seen until late October, will be interesting to see how they fare as autumn progresses.

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