Dr. Shapiro sent me a list of butterflies he recorded for Lang Crossing 3 days before our excursion. I was very disappointed to discover I wouldn't see the gorgeous lustrous copper at Washington and told Art as much. So, late in the afternoon, parched from the extremely warm day, as the shadows filled in the primo butterfly hangouts, we faced a dilemma: go straight to the Washington Hotel for some much needed liquid refreshment and call it a day, or go 10 miles up the road for me to see my first ever Lycaena cupreus at Lang. It was Art's wife who suggested doing both, but only after making him guarantee that I would see a copper butterfly. That guarantee looked like it was going to be a bust, because we failed to find any coppers at the spot Dr. Shapiro saw them previously. Fortunately, in a moist meadow across the river, we hit the coppery mother lode. I have so many pictures of this wildly, brilliantly, bold butterfly, including the last one above where a greenish blue wanted to get in on the photo shoot action. Tired as I was, I was extremely glad we made the extra hour and a half round-trip.
If I hadn't known what to look for, I could have easily brushed off the resting butterfly in the second picture as the more-familiar-to-me acmon blue with only the underside of the hindwings showing. It's not too difficult to distinguish in a photograph, but from a distance and hiding in real life, it's not so easy. There's some question how the lustrous copper larvae feed primarily on the weedy sheep sorrel. With all the recent heavy bashing of non-native plants, it's interesting to note that some native butterflies have taken to them. And finally, I would have never been able to figure out which fuzzy blue is in the last picture, not to mention yellow mustard-looking plant, if it wasn't for Art's continuing patient guidance via e-mail.