Other Common Names
Fiery Copper, Eltham Copper
So far, I've mainly seen these in the Ingleburn Reserve. The Bright Copper (P.aurifer, is also found there, but the two species seem to be located in different parts of the reserve.
The males are territorial, and chase other butterflies away from their spots. This can be very funny to watch when the other butterfly is several times larger than the copper. Their territorial habit makes the males relatively easy to photograph, because if disturbed they tend to do a loop and return to almost the spot they were in before.
The females are much harder to photograph. They're more wary than the males, and most easily disturbed. If they get alarmed, they tend to fly off and not return for a considerable length of time.
This species is on the wing for a shorter period than P. aurifer, which can be found later in the autumn and earlier in the spring. Interestingly, when this species reappeared in the Ingleburn Reserve in November 2004, most of the males seemed to be of the bright form, with a large copper area on the upperside of the hind wings, whereas the previous autumn the dark form (with mainly brown hind wings) seemed to predominate. As with P. aurifer, I found them in a wider area in the spring than I had done in the autumn. I am not sure whether this is because the butterflies are more numerous in the spring, or whether it's simply that I'm looking out for them more now.
Ingleburn Reserve - April, November 2004
Mount Annan Botanical Garden - December 2004
Cecil Plains, QLD - November 2008