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Close-up photo of live adult Great Copper butterfly

West Eugene Wetlands, Lane Co, July 25 - female

Great Copper

Tharsalea xanthoides


AKA Lycaena xanthoides

Size: 1.25- 1.75 inches wingspan

Key ID features:  Large for a copper. May have very short tail. Female above gray-brown with tan patches, black spots, and orange lunules (series of crescent shapes) on the trailing edge of the HW. Male above gray-brown, with only a few small spots along HW trailing margin.    Below HW grayish brown with black spots, submarginal white band, and pale zigzag orange line along VHW trailing margin. Female with bolder zigzag orange line along VHW trailing margin. Often has a noticeable though small tail.

Similar species:  Edith's Copper is smaller, often with darker dorsal ground color, and VHW spots are larger and closer together. Edith's tend to have no tail or a tiny stub of a tail.


Host plant: Dock (Rumex) species are suspected.

Habitat: Grassy hillsides in the south, wet meadows in the Willamette Valley.

Range: South Siskiyou Mtns, southern Willamette Valley.

Season: Mid-June to early September

Abundance: Locally common


Conservation Status: Secure throughout most of its range, but population in southern Willamette Valley is perilously small.

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