Lycaena phlaeas, Crete - photo © K. Bormpoudaki
Lycaena phlaeas is a butterfly of the family Lycaenidae on the island of Crete, Greece.
Lycaena phlaeas (Linnaeus, 1761)
Family: Lycaenidae > Subfamily: Lycaeninae > Tribus: Lycaena > Genus: Lycaena
Male to female: 25-30 mm
Some females also have a row of blue spots within the orange border and are known as the caeruleopunctata form (Lycaena phlaeas f. caeruleopunctata, Ruhl 1893) and occur in Crete.
The butterfly often basks on bare ground, periodically visiting various wildflowers for nectar. It flies low to the ground in short flies.
In bright sun it is a very active little butterfly with the males setting up small territories which they will defend vigorously. Even the shadow of a large bird passing overhead is enough to elicit a response.
Lycaena phlaeas in Crete is found in a wide range of habitats i.e. fallow land, field boundary strips, glades, ruderal areas, seaside, fields, shrubland.
The larva feeds on Polygonaceae (Polygonum, Rumex acetosella) plants.
The butterfly flies in 3 generations at least per year.
The Small Copper has a unique appearance in Crete and can’t be confused with any other butterflies of the island.
Least Concern (LC)
Lycaena Phlaeas Distribution Map
Lycaena phlaeas location map based on greek butterflies distributions map by L.N. Pamperis (revised 2021)