· Naturefund Project details

The purple-edged copper

The purple-edged copper (Lycaena hippothoe) is a small, rare butterfly of the family Lycaenidae. There are only five locations known in Hesse where the purple-edged copper can still be found.

Rapid zig-zag flight

Male and female butterflies in the purple-edged copper species are easily distinguishable from one another. The upper side of the male butterfly's wing has a dazzling bright reddish orange shade with a violet shimmer. The upper side of the female butterfly on the other hand has a yellowish brown colour with white edges.

They can be seen flying around from May to June. The butterflies of this generation fly in zigzag around their territory. Beside the purple-edged copper, there are other copper types with red-coloured males, for instance the common copper, the scarce copper, the purple shot copper and the large copper.

It can also be found in the Reifenberg meadows It is difficult to define the butterflies' exact habitat, since they can be found in a large range of biotopes. Usually these are moist meadows, rich mountain pastures and low-land moors, but even nutrient-poor grasslands and gravel pits can offer a habitat. Either way it is important that the common sorrel plant can be found here. Since it is here that the purple-edged copper lays its eggs in the flower heads. Later on the sorrel will serve as a food source for the caterpillars.

The butterflies themselves like to suck on common bistort or common yarrow and the meadow buttercup. But the farmers treat sorrel as a weed. This means the purple-edged copper has ever fewer places to lay its eggs. The increasing intense management of the grassland is destroying its habitat with devastating consequences for the butterflies.

The purple-edged copper used to be wide-spread

In the past the purple-edged copper used to be represented almost everywhere from North Spain to Scandinavia. Nowadays it is no longer found in Great Britain, North-Western France, the coastal areas of Southern France, Northern Holland, Southern Italy, the Southern Balkans and Greece. It has also become much rarer in Germany. It only exists in a very select few locations in Hesse, one of these being the Reifenberg meadows. Protect land for nature now! More on nutrient-poor grasslandsMore on arnica montanaBasic data: Reifenberg meadows

Protect Nature

Support Naturefund and protect nature!

Back to overview

Next news