Lycaena phlaeas, also known as the small copper or common copper butterfly, is a small butterfly that is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. 

Some of the characteristics of this species include:

  • Wingspan: The wingspan of a Lycaena phlaeas butterfly ranges from 22 to 27 mm.
  • Coloration: The upper wings of a Lycaena phlaeas butterfly are copper-colored with black markings, while the lower wings are orange with black markings.
  • Preferred habitat: Lycaena phlaeas butterflies are found in a variety of habitats, including gardens, fields, and open woodlands. They are particularly common in areas with plenty of sunshine.
  • Temperature: Lycaena phlaeas butterflies are adapted to a wide range of temperatures and can be found in both hot and cold climates.
  • Humidity: This species prefers dry, arid conditions and is typically not found in areas with high humidity.
  • Host plants: Lycaena phlaeas butterflies lay their eggs on a variety of plants, including nettles, clovers, and alfalfa.
  • Nectar plants: Lycaena phlaeas butterflies feed on the nectar of a variety of flowers, including asters, cosmos, zinnias, and marigolds.

The life cycle of a Lycaena phlaeas butterfly consists of four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult. 

At a constant temperature of 24°C, the duration of each stage is as follows:

  • Egg: The egg stage lasts for about 5 to 10 days.
  • Caterpillar: The larval stage lasts for about 2 to 3 weeks. During this time, the caterpillar will molt (shed its exoskeleton) several times as it grows.
  • Pupa: The pupal stage lasts for about 10 to 14 days. During this time, the pupa is hard and immobile.
  • Adult: The adult stage lasts for about 2 to 3 weeks.

Lycaena phlaeas butterflies overwinter as adult butterflies or pupae, depending on the location. In colder climates, the butterflies will migrate to more temperate regions, while in warmer climates, they may remain active throughout the year.

Lycaena phlaeas butterflies lay their eggs singly on the undersides of leaves of host plants. The eggs are small (about the size of a pinhead) and are typically white in color.

To breed Lycaena phlaeas butterflies at home, you will need to provide the following:

  1. Host plants: You will need to provide plants that the butterflies can lay their eggs on, such as nettles, clovers, or alfalfa.
  1. Nectar plants: You will need to provide a variety of flowers that the adult butterflies can feed on, such as asters, cosmos, zinnias, and marigolds.
  1. Shelter: You will need to provide some form of shelter for the butterflies, such as a butterfly house or a netting enclosure.
  1. Water: You will need to provide a shallow dish of water for the butterflies to drink from.
  1. Temperature control: You will need to maintain a consistent temperature of around 24°C in order to ensure that the butterflies are able to complete their life cycle.

To breed Lycaena phlaeas butterflies at home, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Obtain eggs or caterpillars: You can obtain eggs or caterpillars from a butterfly farm or by collecting them from host plants in the wild.
  1. Provide host plants: Once you have obtained eggs or caterpillars, you will need to provide them with host plants on which to feed and grow. These can be potted plants or plants that are grown directly in the enclosure.
  1. Provide nectar plants: Adult Lycaena phlaeas butterflies feed on the nectar of a variety of flowers, so you will need to provide a variety of nectar plants for them to feed on. These can be potted plants or plants that are grown directly in the enclosure.
  1. Provide shelter: You will need to provide some form of shelter for the butterflies, such as a butterfly house or a netting enclosure. This will help to protect them from predators and extreme weather conditions.
  1. Maintain temperature: It is important to maintain a consistent temperature of around 24°C in order to ensure that the butterflies are able to complete their life cycle. This can be achieved by using a heating pad or heat lamp, or by placing the enclosure in a warm location.
  1. Monitor the butterflies: You will need to monitor the butterflies regularly to ensure that they are healthy and have everything they need. This may include providing them with fresh host and nectar plants as needed, cleaning the enclosure regularly, and providing a shallow dish of water for them to drink from.
  1. Release the butterflies: Once the butterflies have completed their life cycle and have reached adulthood, you can release them into the wild if you wish. Make sure to release them in a location that has suitable host and nectar plants for them to feed on.

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