- Subfamily: Lycaeninae - Lycaenini
- Wingspan: 35-45 mm
- Flight period: May - Sep
- Spread: Uncommon, in decline
- Host plants: Rumex
The Lycaena dispar or Large copper is a species of European butterfly of the Lycaenidae family with a wingspan of 35-45 mm.
Distributed throughout most of Europe, with the exception of Portugal and Ireland, its presence in the United Kingdom is not sure. In Italy it is absent from the Islands *.
Medium-sized species, in which the females are generally larger than the males, it has a lively differentiated colouration in the two sexes. The upper part of the wing is bright orange with brown edging in the males, lighter orange and mottled with brown in the rear wing in the females; the lower part of the rear wing is bright blue-gray. **
The species can be distinguished from similar species Lycaena virgaureae and Lycaena hippothoe, more common in drier habitats, by the silver coloration of the underside of the hind wings. The adults can be observed in flight from May to September.
In Western Europe, the reclamation of wetlands, overbuilding and agricultural activity in floodplain areas has caused a sharp decline of this species. In Eastern Europe, undeveloped alluvial areas and river deltas are habitats for this species, even though it is still threatened by increasing human activity in these areas.
The wintering larvae have the appearance of terrestrial Isopods (slugs), while the pupae are generally attached to the host plant (Rumex) through a silky belt (succinct pupae).**
The larvae feed on plants of the Rumex species.
*Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europaea https://fauna-eu.org/
** Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten - http://lepiforum.de/