A group of grey copper butterflies feeding on a flower

Gossamer-winged butterflies

Gossamer-winged butterflies are a very large family of butterflies with delicate shimmering wings. The adults are usually small and brightly coloured and include all the blues, coppers, hairstreaks, sunbeams and harvesters. In many species the caterpillars depend on ants for various services, including protection, and will produce a sugary secretion to attract these little helpers. This is the second largest family of butterflies, containing more than 5,000 species, many of which are now quite rare.

Scientific name: Lycaenidae

Rank: Family

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.