Lycaena epixanthe - (Boisduval and Le Conte, [1835])
Bog Copper
Other English Common Names: bog copper
Synonym(s): Epidemia epixanthe
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Lycaena epixanthe (Boisduval and Le Conte, 1835) (TSN 188509)
French Common Names: cuivré des tourbières
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.114963
Element Code: IILEPC1110
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Butterflies and Skippers
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Lycaenidae Lycaena
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B02OPL01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Lycaena epixanthe
Taxonomic Comments: Some workers recognize subspecies but none are treated separately in this database since they differ in little except wing color and size. The typical subspecies is the southeastern one (New Jersey into eastern New England) with a high frequency of yellow ventral hindwings, but substantial populations also have the more normal gray color as a significant minority form. Subspecies phaedra is essentially populations that are normal size but have the gray morph fixed at 100%. There appear to be no ecological differences involved.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 13Sep2015
Global Status Last Changed: 13Sep2015
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Widespread species, not greatly threatened. Many of the threats listed also create new habitat which is colonized in some parts of range. Local but often quite abundant where present.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4N5 (01Sep1998)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (26Aug2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Connecticut (S2S3), Indiana (SX), Maine (S4), Maryland (S1), Massachusetts (S4), Michigan (S2S4), Minnesota (S4), New Hampshire (S4?), New Jersey (S4), New York (S4?), Pennsylvania (S2), Rhode Island (S3), Vermont (S2), West Virginia (S1), Wisconsin (S4S5)
Canada Manitoba (S3), New Brunswick (S5), Newfoundland Island (SNR), Nova Scotia (S5), Ontario (S4S5), Prince Edward Island (S4), Quebec (S4S5)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Newfoundland west to Manitoba and south to Minnesota, Michigan, northern Ohio, extreme western Maryland-West Virginia border region, Pennsylvania, New Jersey. Extremely local due to the nature of its habitat.

Area of Occupancy: 126-12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: > 300

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Often very abundant and local. Some populations are extremely isolated e.g. many in Pennsylvania and New York (Schweitzer, pers. comm).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Habitat subject to peat mining in Maine (Opler, pers. comm.). Known threats include fire, pesticides, succession, storm floods, and beaver damming which eradicates local populations (Schweitzer, pers. obs.), however these are serious threats only where species occurs as isolated colonies.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Needs cranberrry on permanently wet sunny substrate.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Newfoundland west to Manitoba and south to Minnesota, Michigan, northern Ohio, extreme western Maryland-West Virginia border region, Pennsylvania, New Jersey. Extremely local due to the nature of its habitat.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CT, INextirpated, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, WI, WV
Canada MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Hartford (09003)*, Litchfield (09005), Middlesex (09007), New Haven (09009)*, New London (09011), Windham (09015)*
IN Wabash (18169)*
MA Norfolk (25021)
MD Garrett (24023)
MN Aitkin (27001)*, Anoka (27003)*, Beltrami (27007)*, Carlton (27017)*, Isanti (27059), Koochiching (27071)*, Lake of the Woods (27077)*, Pine (27115)*, Roseau (27135), Sherburne (27141)*, St. Louis (27137)*, Stearns (27145)*, Washington (27163)
PA Bradford (42015), Carbon (42025), Erie (42049), Luzerne (42079), Lycoming (42081), Monroe (42089), Pike (42103), Schuylkill (42107), Sullivan (42113), Susquehanna (42115), Tioga (42117), Wayne (42127), Wyoming (42131)
RI Washington (44009)
VT Bennington (50003), Essex (50009), Franklin (50011), Washington (50023)
WV Preston (54077)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Upper Connecticut (01080101)+, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+, Charles (01090001)+, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+, Quinebaug (01100001)+*, Shetucket (01100002)+*, Thames (01100003)+, Quinnipiac (01100004)+*, Housatonic (01100005)+
02 Hudson-Hoosic (02020003)+, Upper Delaware (02040101)+, Lackawaxen (02040103)+, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Lehigh (02040106)+, Schuylkill (02040203)+, Tioga (02050104)+, Upper Susquehanna-Tunkhannock (02050106)+, Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna (02050107)+, Pine (02050205)+, Lower West Branch Susquehanna (02050206)+
04 Beartrap-Nemadji (04010301)+*, Winooski River (04150403)+, Missiquoi River (04150407)+, Lake Champlain (04150408)+
05 French (05010004)+, Youghiogheny (05020006)+, Eel (05120104)+*
07 Prairie-Willow (07010103)+*, Elk-Nokasippi (07010104)+*, Platte-Spunk (07010201)+*, Clearwater-Elk (07010203)+*, Twin Cities (07010206)+, Rum (07010207)+, Kettle (07030003)+*, Snake (07030004)+*, Lower St. Croix (07030005)+
09 Roseau (09020314)+, Rainy Headwaters (09030001)+*, Vermilion (09030002)+*, Rainy Lake (09030003)+*, Little Fork (09030005)+*, Rapid (09030007)+*, Lower Rainy (09030008)+*, Lake of the Woods (09030009)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small butterfly, the bog copper.
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND
Habitat Comments: Found most typically in acid bogs with cranberries and other heath family plants (e.g. Opler, 1992), but not really limited to bogs. Also typical of fens that have cranberry. In some areas such as the New Jersey Pine Barrens it can occur in a variety of acid wet situations, generally with a lot of Sphagnum moss including ditches, infrequently mowed wet meadows, and wet burn scars. Habitats may have some trees but are mainly open. Some habitats at least from southern Maine to New Jersey are very wet acid sedge meadows with cranberry between the sedges rather than true bogs.. Soils or Sphagnum must be saturated or nearly so most or all of the year. While cranberry can grow well on fairly mesic sites, bog coppers do not occupy such habitats. Usually excluded from commercial cranberry bogs by insecticides.
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Food Comments: Caterpillar Hosts: Larvae feed in spring on shrubby cranberries in the heath family (Ericaceae). Adult Food: Water from raindrops and nectar from cranberry flowers (Lotts and Naberhaus 2017).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Lycaena (Coppers)

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: A location where the species occurs, or has recently occurred, where there is potential for continued occurrence or regular recurrence. Minimally a location with the larval foodplants and any other essential habitat features where the species has been verified to occur on the basis of specimens or positively identifiable photographs. High quality occurrences will usually support metapopulations.
Mapping Guidance: Often community boundaries will give good approximation of occurrence boundaries.
Separation Barriers: No information but since adults are low fliers in open habitats, it is likely dense forests are barriers.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 4 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: For most species suitable habitats are not often large so the four kilometer figure would seldom apply. Apply the 4 km distance in extensive wetland complexes, considering all colonies as part of a single metapopulation occurrence. The four kilometer limit should probably apply in a few other situations where a large geologic feature or community complex contains multiple habitat patches, especially if the foodplant occurs at least occasionally between the main colony sites. It is also very likely (observed occasionally for L. EPIXANTHE in New Jersey and nearly certain for L. DORCAS) that adults move along sunny stream banks, especially if the foodplant occurs in limited amounts along them. Thus in most cases the 4 km distance is probably appropriate when wetlands or riparian habitats are connected by streams in fairly open landscapes.
Separation Justification: These butterflies generally form discrete colonies often occupying a few hectares or less but generally occupy all habitats where these are clustered. Adults generally stay in these small areas but are occasionally seen outside them, at least with L. EPIXANTHE this is especially true of females. At least in areas where habitats are frequent on the landscape most species are good colonizers. J. Michaud in Rhode Island has documented some inter-site movement in L. EPIXANTHE and it has been observed to recolonize after eradications in floods or fires in New Jersey. Really isolated taxa such as L. DOSPASSOSI and L. DORCAS CLAYTONI occur as clusters of colonies in apparent metapopulations. Some species are rather ephemeral more or less fugitive species, notably L. HYLLUS. Still most adults undoubtedly never leave their small habitats and thus two kilometers should be more than enough to separate populations in most cases in the absence of at least small "stepping stone" patches. Also in areas where habitats are widely scattered (>10 kilometers apart) and isolated such as bogs in Pennsylvania and in New Jersey south of the Mullica River most seemingly suitable habitats are unoccupied (in these cases referring to L. EPIXANTHE). Most eastern limestone region were never colonized by L. DORCAS. These observations suggest lack of long distance movements.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .5 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Inferred extent is very rarely applicable since most colonies are tiny and the sites obviously fully occupied and only the patch where the observation was made is assumed occupied. However when habitat complexes are truly large, e.g. some northern peatlands with metapopulations of L. EPIXANTHE and L. DORCAS, it would be unreasonable not to assume very nearby patches are occupied and in such cases usually either all or none of them are. Still apparently more so than most butterflies coppers do sometimes fail to occupy or persist in seemingly suitable proximate habitats, and colonies can be very localized. If the actual foodplant patch itself extends continuously for more than .5 kilometer presence may be inferred throughout it. In most cases foodplants are patchier than that.
Date: 25Jul2001
Author: Schweitzer, D. F.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 14May2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Schweitzer, D.1995: Opler, P.A.; Dirrigl Jr., F.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 22Aug1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): SCHWEITZER, D.F.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Allen, T.J. 1997. The butterflies of West Virginia and their caterpillars. Pittsburgh, PA. University of Pittsburgh Press.

  • Belth, Jeffrey E. 2013. Butterflies of Indiana A Field Guide. Indiana University Press.Bloomington, IN.

  • General Status 2015, Environment Canada. 2015. Manitoba butterfly species list and subnational ranks proposed by Environment Canada contractor.

  • Huber, R. L. 1981. An updated checklist of Minnesota butterflies. Minnesota Entomological Association Newsletter 14(3):15-25.

  • KEAN, P.J. 1983. NEWS FROM THE FEBRUARY MEETING. PHAETON 3(6):1-3.

  • Klassen,P.,Westwood, A.R., Preston. W.B. and W.B. McKillop. 1989. The butterflies of Manitoba. Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature. Winnipeg. 290 pp.

  • Lotts, K., and T. Naberhaus, coordinators. 2017. Butterflies and Moths of North America. Available online: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/ (Version December 2018).

  • Natural Resources Commission. 2014. Roster of Indiana Animals, Insects, and Plants That Are Extirpated, Endangered, Threatened or Rare. Information Bulletin #2 (Sixth Amendment. 20pp.

  • Opler, P. A., and A. D. Warren. 2002. Butterflies of North America. 2. Scientific Names List for Butterfly Species of North America, north of Mexico. C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity, Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. 79 pp.

  • Opler, P.A. and V. Malikul. 1992. Eastern Butterflies (Peterson Field Guide). Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 396 pp. + color plates.

  • Pelham, J. P. 2008. A catalogue of the butterflies of the United States and Canada with a complete bibliography of the descriptive and systematic literature. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera. Volume 40. 658 pp. Revised 14 February, 2012.

  • Pohl, G.R.  J-F. Landry, B.C. Schmidt, J.D. Lafontaine, J.T. Troubridge, A.D. Macaulay, E.van Nieukerken, J.R. deWaard, J.J. Dombroskie, J. Klymko, V. Nazari and K. Stead. 2018. Annotated checklist of the moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) of Canada and Alaska. Pensoft Publishers. 580 pp.

  • Shuey, John. 1995. Indiana S-Ranks for Butterflies. Memorandum to Cloyce Hedge. 10 pp.

  • Shull, E. M. 1987. Butterfly Information. Letter to Michelle Martin. 2 pp.

  • Shull, Ernest M. 1987. The Butterflies of Indiana. Publ. by Indiana Acad. Science, distributed by Indiana Univ. Press, Bloomington/Indianapolis, 262 pp.

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