The female is larger than the male with slightly different markings, has a paler colour and does not have feathered antennae (unlike the male). Northern or upland examples are more intensely coloured, with the female bluish-grey. The adult females fly at night when they occasionally come to light, usually early in the night.

The Small Copper is usually seen in ones and twos, but in some years large numbers may be found at good sites. Males are territorial, often choosing a piece of bare ground or a stone on which to bask and await passing females. They behave aggressively towards any passing insects, returning to the same spot when the chase is over.

Though it remains a common and widespread species, the Small Copper declined throughout its range during the twentieth century. Widespread through Britain and Ireland, and occasionally visits gardens. 

The Small Heath is an inconspicuous butterfly that flies only in sunshine and rarely settles more than a metre above the ground. Its wings are always kept closed when at rest. Underside of forewing has eyespot at tip. Hindwing banded with brown, grey and cream. The number of broods and the flight periods are variable and adults may be seen continuously from late April to September on some sites in southern England.

Subscribe to Copper