Identification: Tiny—0.9". Sexes similar below. Above: Dull gray-brown with dark spots on both wings and an irregular band of orange spots near edge of HW. Male has fewer spots on FW than female, and when fresh may display purplish iridescence. Below: Both wings pale, often yellowish, with many dark spots and a jagged orange line near edge of HW. Similar species: American Copper and Bronze Copper do not occur in cranberry bogs.
NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. A northern species that reaches its southern limit in the NJ Pine Barrens. Recently reported from Atlantic, Cape May, Middlesex, Ocean, and Burlington counties. One site in northern Sussex County supports a small population.
Habitat: Acid bogs with cranberries.
Flight Period: One brood that flies in June and July. Extreme dates: North Jersey 6/22—7/9; South Jersey 6/3—7/4.
Larval Food Plants: Large Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), and probably Small Cranberry (V. oxycoccos) as well (in Sussex County).
Overwintering Stage: Egg.
Best Locations: Lakehurst Bog, Jamesburg CP, Franklin-Parker Preserve, Tarkiln Bog.
Comments: A special trip must be made to see this tiny denizen of primarily abandoned cranberry bogs. Observers must be sharp to follow its weak, sedge-top flight. Sometimes stops to nectar on cranberry flowers.
Male, Lakehurst Bog, Ocean Co., NJ, 6/21/08.
Female, Lakehurst Bog, Ocean Co., NJ, 6/25/11.
Female, Lakehurst Bog, Ocean Co., NJ, 6/17/10.
Flowers and leaves of Large Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon). This is the main host plant for Bog Copper in NJ.