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The Small Copper has shown an alarming decline
in numbers which has yet to show up in dot distribution maps as the species
is still sufficiently widely distributed to be found somewhere within most
10km squares if enough effort is devoted to searching for it. However, if
current trends continue it may not be long before the maps start to look
patchy. This butterfly is a species of rough flowery places and is intolerant
of heavy stocking levels or land improvement.
A double-brooded species, overwintering in the larval stage. Eggs are laid
Sheep’s Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) and Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa). The
larvae feed in a manner that leaves a characteristic indication of their presence
in that they do not eat all the way through the leaf but leave a thin ‘window’ formed
by the upper epidermis.
An easy butterfly to identify but it is a very fast flyer and on a hot summer
day all that may be seen is a streak in one’s peripheral vision.