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Biology

Small coppers appear on the wing in May and, in warm years, can still be seen in October. The eggs are laid on dock, sheep's sorrel and common sorrel, the caterpillars feeding on the surface of the plant's leaves. One way of spotting their presence is to inspect the leaves for characteristic surface damage. The caterpillars are green and covered with short white hairs, which help to camouflage them from predators. They overwinter as pupae and emerge as adult butterflies the following spring. Male small coppers are one of the most active of all butterflies. They regularly chase away other butterflies from their chosen piece of territory, returning to the same basking spot to continue their watch for passing females. As adults, the butterflies will take nectar from a wide variety of grassland and meadow flowers, and are sometimes seen in suburban gardens.

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Source: ARKive

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