Pardon my neglect in putting out new material. I’ve been learning some new mapping software to make new distribution maps for Nebraska’s 200+ species (the last ones for the state were put out in 2004/05). I’ve also been comparing notes with Steve Spomer to synchronize our data. So hopefully it will all be worth it. There is a new distribution map for this butterfly a little later in this post. Any comments/suggestions are welcome.
This butterfly (Lycaena rubidus – the Ruddy Copper) inhabits the western half of the United States but is largely absent from New Mexico, Arizona and southern California. Eastward it can be found into western portions of the Dakotas and Nebraska. In a lengthy review of the species in 1977 Johnson and Balogh described a new subspecies (Lycaena rubidus longi K. Johnson & Balogh, 1977) from Nebraska, again with the type locality being “the region north of Harrison” in Sioux county. A holotype (single type specimen) is housed at the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity in Gainesville (University of Florida). This area north of Harrison is also the type locality for Pahaska Skippers (Jan 8 post) and Bernadetta Checkerspots (Feb 23 post). See the Jan 2 post for the type locality discussion.
There is one generation of Ruddy Coppers annually, generally lasting a couple of weeks with numbers peaking in mid June. As with all coppers, larvae feed on docks (Rumex species), with this butterfly showing a preference for winged dock aka wild begonia (Rumex venosus) which is widely distributed in western Nebraska.