San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Field Guide
Hermes Copper (Lycaena hermes)

Lycaena hermes
Hermes Copper

Family: Lycaenidae (Gossamer-wing)


The upper side of the Hermes Copper is brown with a yellow-orange patch surrounding black spots. The underside is bright yellow. The forewing has 4-6 black spots and the hind wing contains 3-6 black spots. Each hind wing has one tail. The wingspan is 1 - 1 ¼ inches.

Range and Habitat

Hermes Copper has a restricted range from San Diego County and Northern Baja California. It lives in mixed woodlands, chaparral and coastal sage scrub.

Conservation Status

The Hermes Copper is threatened throughout its range. It is a species of concern for U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Habitat loss caused by land development is thought to be the primary reason for the decline of this species. The October 2003 fires in San Diego and the ensuing disruption of its habitat may have had a devastating impact on this species.

Text by Connie Gatlin
Photo credit: Dan Marschalek
California Deparment of Fish and Game

Field Guide: Butterflies | Field Guide Feedback Form