The many small Lycaenids in Alberta are a joy to watch, but can be frustrating for beginner bugsters to identify to species. They typically have rounded wings and colours from browns, coppery tones to iridescent blue.
The caterpillars are typically squat and sluglike. Some species produce a honeydew-like secretion and live with ants.
The Coppers (about 9 species in Alberta) are metallic coppery coloured butterflies with a quick darting flight. They typically rest with wings open on flowers. They are often found in associated with wet of boggy areas. A few species are widespread, but others are found only in the mountains.
Most of the 8 to 10 Hairstreaks that might be found Alberta are predominantly BC species that have strayed into extreme southwestern BC, although a few species are widespread in the southern part of the Province. They are most commonly seen in July.
Hairstreaks are brown or grayish and often show a blue iridescence in the sun. Many have delicate hair-like tails on the hind wing. There are often wavy or broken lines on the light wing undersurface, and a pair of dark spots (called thecla spots) on the underside near the tails.
The five species of tiny Elfins that can be found in Alberta are small brown butterflies of mountains and woods. They overwinter as pupae, so the adults are seen in spring.
There are 15 or so species of Blues that can be found in Alberta. The males are a bright iridescent blue, while females are often duller or even brown or grey. The complex pattern of spots and bands on the underside of the hind wings are clues to the species. They are often seen at flowers with the wings held tightly together over the body.
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Where to find Blues and Coppers in Alberta
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Blues and Coppers Family Behaviour
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Interesting Facts about Blues and Coppers
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Blues and Coppers Family Stories from our Readers
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Recent Blues and Coppers Family Reports in Alberta
Town of Brooks
Blues and Coppers Family Hotspots in Alberta
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