Grecian Copper

Lycaena ottomana (Lefèbvre, [1831])



A largish-small copper-coloured butterfly. The upperside of the male is a bright copper colour with a black margin, whilst the female has black spots on both forewing and hindwing, and the hindwing is brown with an orange margin. The upperside is similar in both male and female, the forewing is pale orange with black spots and a fawn border. The hindwing is fawn coloured with black spots and red spots along the margin. Its larger size and markings distinguish it from L. phlaeas. 

Habitat Requirements

Most commonly encountered in damp meadows, with easy access to tall flowers such as White Asphodel Asphodelus albus. 

Larval Foodplants

Sheep’s Sorrel Rumex acetosella.


The brightly coloured males commonly perch on plants like A. albus, from where they take nectar and sit to survey their territories. In the absence of such flowers, they sit on the taller dead vegetation or tall grass, where they await the arrival of females. Males may occupy territories that are very close and perhaps overlapping.

In contrast, females are far less likely to utilise tall vegetation, instead they more commonly bask on low growing foliage. They lay their solitary eggs on debris, such as dead host plant stalks laying on the ground, presumably to expose the ova to high temperatures to encourage their development.

*The information provided in the tables below is based on verified sightings of the Grecian Copper submitted via this website since 1st January 2021.

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 19/03/2023 29/10/2023 224 days
2022 01/04/2022 04/10/2022 186 days
2021 02/04/2021 25/10/2021 206 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 88
2022 54
2021 39
Grand Total 181

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Grecian Copper (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023

Flight Times for the Grecian Copper (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month since 1st January 2021


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Grecian Copper
  • Family: Lycaenidae (Leach, 1815)
  • Sub-family: Lycaeninae (Leach, 1815)
  • Tribe: Lycaenini (Leach, 1815)
  • Genus: Lycaena (Fabricius, 1807)
  • Species: ottomana (Lefèbvre, [1831])


For a list of references, please see our bibliography page.