Overview

Brief Summary

North American Ecology (US and Canada)

Resident in northeastern North America (Scott 1986). Habitats are TRANSITION TO CANADIAN ZONE CRANBERRY BOGS. Hosts plants are usually shrubs with hosts mostly from one genus Vaccinium (ERICACEAE). Eggs are laid near the host plant singly. Individuals overwinter as eggs. There is one flight each year with the approximate flight time JUN30-AUG1 depending on latitude (Scott 1986).
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Newfoundland west to Manitoba and south to Minnesota, Michigan, northern Ohio, extreme western Maryland-West Virginia border region, Pennsylvania, New Jersey. Extremely local due to the nature of its habitat.

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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Found most typically in acid bogs with cranberries and other heath family plants (e.g. Opler, 1992), but not really limited to bogs. Also typical of fens that have cranberry. In some areas such as the New Jersey Pine Barrens it can occur in a variety of acid wet situations, generally with a lot of Sphagnum moss including ditches, infrequently mowed wet meadows, and wet burn scars. Habitats may have some trees but are mainly open. Some habitats at least from southern Maine to New Jersey are very wet acid sedge meadows with cranberry between the sedges rather than true bogs.. Soils or Sphagnum must be saturated or nearly so most or all of the year. While cranberry can grow well on fairly mesic sites, bog coppers do not occupy such habitats. Usually excluded from commercial cranberry bogs by insecticides.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Larvae feed in spring on cranberry.

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Associations

Flowering Plants Visited by Lycaena epixanthe in Illinois

Lycaena epixanthe Boisduval & LeConte: Lycaenidae, Lepidoptera
(this observation is from F.R. Cole; this is the Bog Copper)

Orchidaceae: Calopogon tuberosus exp np
Insect activities:
exp = explores the flower, but acquires neither nectar nor pollen
np = non-pollinating

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Flowering Plants Visited by Lycaena epixanthe in Illinois

Lycaena epixanthe Boisduval & LeConte: Lycaenidae, Lepidoptera
(this observation is from F.R. Cole; this is the Bog Copper)

Orchidaceae: Calopogon tuberosus exp np

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: > 300

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Global Abundance

10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Often very abundant and local. Some populations are extremely isolated e.g. many in Pennsylvania and New York (Schweitzer, pers. comm).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Males perch for females (Scott, 1986).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Lycaena epixanthe

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 14
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Widespread species, not greatly threatened. Many of the threats listed also create new habitat which is colonized in some parts of range. Local but often quite abundant where present.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.

Comments: Needs cranberrry on permanently wet sunny substrate.

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Global Long Term Trend: Decline of 30-50%

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Threats

Degree of Threat: Medium

Comments: Habitat subject to peat mining in Maine (Opler, pers. comm.). Known threats include fire, pesticides, succession, storm floods, and beaver damming which eradicates local populations (Schweitzer, pers. obs.), however these are serious threats only where species occurs as isolated colonies.

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Management

Global Protection: Many to very many (13 to >40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: Lots of bogs are protected in some parts of range.

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Wikipedia

Lycaena epixanthe

Lycaena epixanthe, the bog copper or cranberry-bog copper, is a North American butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. Adults like to sip drops of dew clinging to leaves and almost exclusively nectar on their host plant, cranberries. Because of this, bog coppers will spend their entire lives within the area of a single acid bog.[2] Even though their flight is weak and close to the ground, bog coppers are hard to catch because of the habitat in which they live.[3] Also, 85% of the bog coppers life span is spent in the egg.[2]

Description[edit]

The bog copper is the smallest U.S. copper.[3] The upper side of the males wings is dark gray-brown with a purplish sheen (it glows under UV light very strongly).[2][3] The male has very few black basal spots on the fore wing. The hind wing outer margin has orange markings.[2] The upper side of the females wings is very similar to the males except the female has a lighter purplish iridescence.[3] The underside of the wings in both sexes varies from whitish-gray to yellowish-tan.[3] The wingspan measures 2.2–2.5 cm (0.87–0.98 in).[4]

Similar species[edit]

Similar species in the bog copper's range include the purplish copper (Lycaena helloides) and the Dorcas copper (Lycaena dorcas).

The Purplish copper is larger, the female has a lot of orange on the upper side, and both sexes have a conspicuous orange submarginal line on the upper side of the hind wing.[3]

The Dorcas is larger, the male has more black spots on the upper side, the female has more orange on the upper side, and the underside of the wings is pinkish-brown or tan with a red-orange hind wing submarginal line.[3]

Habitat[edit]

The only habitat in which bog coppers occur are acid bogs with cranberries. Thus conservation of acid bog habitats is essential for this butterfly.[2]

Flight[edit]

This species is on the wing mostly from late June to early August (mid-June to mid-July near Ottawa, mid-June to early July in New Jersey, and mid-June to mid-August in Maine).[2][5]

Life cycle[edit]

Males perch on low foliage (usually cranberry) all day from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. to await females. If a male sees a female passing by, he will pursue her. When she lands, the male will land behind her, vibrate his wings, and then they will mate. If the female has already mated or does not want to mate, she will vibrate her wings and then the male will leave.[5] Females lay their eggs singly on the underside of host plant leaves a few inches above the bog surface. The whitish egg can withstand flooding.[5][2] The larva is bluish-green with a darker green middorsal stripe. The bog copper larva is the only copper that feeds on cranberries.[5][6] The chrysalis is pale yellow-green to green with brown and white markings. Rarely, the chrysalis can be solid dark purple. The egg overwinters, usually under water with the larva fully developed inside.[5] It has 1 brood per year.[3]

Host plants[edit]

Here is a list of host plants used by the bog copper:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ernest M. Shull (1987). The Butterflies of Indiana. Indiana Academy of Science. ISBN 0-253-31292-2
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Rick Cech and Guy Tudor (2005). Butterflies of the East Coast. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. ISBN 0-691-09055-6
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman (2003). Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY. ISBN 0-618-15312-8
  4. ^ "Bog Copper"
  5. ^ a b c d e James A. Scott (1986). The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA. ISBN 0-8047-2013-4
  6. ^ Thomas J. Allen, Jim P. Brock and Jeffrey Glassberg (2005). Caterpillars in the Field and Garden. Oxford University Press, New York, NY. ISBN 0-19-514987-4
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Some workers recognize subspecies but none are treated separately in this database since they differ in little except wing color and size. The typical subspecies is the southeastern one (New Jersey into eastern New England) with a high frequency of yellow ventral hindwings, but substantial populations also have the more normal gray color as a significant minority form. Subspecies phaedra is essentially populations that are normal size but have the gray morph fixed at 100%. There appear to be no ecological differences involved.

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Disclaimer

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