Bright Copper Butterfly Paralucia aurifer

Butterflies of Melbourne series

Identification

Wingspan 25 mm. Above, brown-black margins with rich orange central area. Beneath, brown with dark brown markings.


Upperside of female Bright Copper
Photographer: Rodney Start / Source: Museum Victoria


Underside of Bright Copper
Photographer / Source: M & P Coupar

Habitat

It is common but local, found mainly to the north and east of Melbourne near where its food plant Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa) grows. The species occurs from southern Queensland to central Victoria and Tasmania.

Notes

The adults are rapid fliers and settle frequently on foliage and twigs. This butterfly often occurs in colonies, the larvae sheltering underground in nests of small black ants (Iridomyrmex species) during the day and feeding on Bursaria leaves at night. The pupae also occur in the ant galleries or under leaves on the ground. The adults fly mainly from October to March. The larvae hatch in the autumn, overwintering and maturing in the spring. There may be more than one generation annually.


Larva of Bright Copper on Sweet Bursaria
Photographer / Source: M & P Coupar


Distribution and record dates for the Bright Copper near Melbourne (Source Butterfly Bioinformatics, Museum Victoria)


Distribution and record dates for the Bright Copper in Victoria (Source Butterfly Bioinformatics, Museum Victoria)

Further Reading

Braby, M. F. 2000. Butterflies of Australia: Their Identification, Biology and Distribution. CSIRO Publishing.

Common, I. F. B. and Waterhouse, D. F. 1981. Butterflies of Australia (revised edition). Angus & Robertson.

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