Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

Species description
© - Nick Greatorex-Davies

The Small Copper is a widespread and sometimes locally common species of open habitats with short vegetation, often colonising for a time areas where there has been recent disturbance and where there are plenty of patches of bare ground. The caterpillars feed on sorrels and sometimes docks (Rumex spp.). (For further details on this species see

Trend summary

Status since 1976 is Rapid decline with a change of -38.0% since monitoring began for this species.
Status over the last 20 years is Stable with a change of -11.3%
Status over the last 10 years is Stable with a change of 48.0%

Log Collated

This chart shows the index of abundance (LCI = Log Collated Index) over time. It shows fluctuations in populations from year to year, and is scaled so that the average index over the whole series is equal to 2 (horizontal line). Further details on the analysis of UKBMS data can be found [here]

This chart shows the average number of butterflies seen on transects between April and October across all sites (fitted values from a Generalised Additive Model). The blue line gives average counts over the full BMS series (1976 to date) and the red line gives the average for the last year.

This map shows symbols for the mean abundance at transect sites, with the colour of the symbol reflecting the level of abundance. Means are over all years. Grey background squares are the occupied cells as shown by the Butterflies for the New Millenium over the previous ten year period.