Lycaena helloides

Purplish Copper

This is a fairly common copper that flies in multiple broods from April to October depending on location. Hosts include members of the Polygonaceae including species of Rumex such as salicifolius. They also use knotweeds (Polygonum spp. and also common knotweed, Persicaria lapathifolia). Males and females differ dramatically in dorsal wing coloration, but both are handsome butterflies. A reliable spot for these for me has been Trout Pond Trailhead at Cuyamaca Lake in the late summer/early fall.

male Purplish Copper - Lycaena helloides
A male Purplish Copper showing its purplish sheen near Lake Hemet in Riverside County. August 24, 2022.
female Purplish Copper - Lycaena helloides
A female, at the same time and place as the male.
Purplish Copper - Lycaena helloides
The underside of these is also interesting. All of these were taking nectar for hours at mustard flowers.
Purplish Copper - Lycaena helloides
The original description by Boisduval in 1852. Lorquin had would have collected helloides in San Francisco in 1850/1851 and sent those specimens to Boisduval in Paris.

©Dennis Walker