The Violet Copper butterfly, Lycaena helle (Denis and Schiffermüller, 1775) is a boreo-montane species of the Palaearctic distributed over Central Europe, Fennoscandia, throughout Russia to the Amur region, China and Mongolia (Bozano 2001), and is present in cool and moist meadows. Essential habitat requirements are the food-plant Polygonum bistorta (in Europe), typical vegetation structures (Goffart et al. 2009) and specific moist and cold climatic conditions (Bachelard and Descimon 1999; Fischer et al. 1999; Turlure 2006). The species is classified as a generally sedentary butterfly (Bink 1992), but occasional movements among neighbouring sites or even rare long-distance movements have also been recorded (Bachelard and Descimon 1999). The recent situation which has involved habitat succession, industrialisation of land-use and afforestation has led to severe habitat fragmentation of this species, with severe genetic impact (Finger et al. 2009). The species is classified as one of the most endangered butterflies of Europe, listed in the European Red Data Book (Van Swaay and Warren 1999) and Appendices II and IV of the Habitat Directive (EEC, 92/43/EWG) of the European Union (Drews and Pretscher 2003).
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