|Tailed Copper Butterfly - Lycaena arota (Boisduval, 1852)|
Family: Lycaenidae (Gossamer-wing Butterflies) Subfamily: Lycaeninae (Coppers)
Live adult butterflies photographed near Buena Vista, Colorado, USA.
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Identification: Each hindwing of both sexes has a tail. Upper surface of male copper-brown with iridescent purple sheen; female with orange and dark brown pattern. Underside of both sexes gray; forewing with black spots, hindwing with black scrawls and a band of submarginal white crescents.
Life cycle: Males perch in open areas, often near watercourses or ravines, in the morning to watch for females. Eggs are laid singly on host plant or on debris under it, and hibernate until the following spring.
Flight: One flight from May-August. Wing span: 1 1/8 - 1 3/8 inches (3 - 3.5 cm).
Adult food: Flower nectar. Habitat: Open mixed woodland, sagebrush, chaparral.
These lovely coppers were taking on water from the Arkansas River near Buena Vista, Colorado.
Subfamily Heliconiinae - Heliconians and Fritillaries can be divided into 45-50 genera and were sometimes treated as a separate family (Heliconiidae) within the Papilionoidea.
Larvae of the Variegated Fritillary eat a more varied diet of plants than just about any other variety of butterfly. Both the caterpillar and chrysalis are considered among the most beautiful of any of the North American butterflies. This butterfly has characteristics of the true fritillaries (Speyeria) which feed only on violets, and the longwing fritillaries (Agraulis) whose larvae eat only passion flowers. The V. fritillary caterpillar thrives on both types of plants .
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