Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Idioms, Wikipedia.
a group of closely related butterfly genera (Lycaena, Heodes, and Thersamonia) of the family Lycaenidae. In the past such insects were regarded as belonging to a single genus, Chrysophanus. The wings are red-gold or, less commonly, brown or light blue. The caterpillars, which resemble wood lice in shape, feed on the leaves of herbaceous plants of the families Polygonaceae and Leguminosae. The insects are distributed mainly in Europe and Asia. Of the approximately 20 species occurring in the USSR, many are found only in the high meadows of Middle Asia and Transcaucasia. The two most common species are Heodes virgaureae and Lycaena phlaeas. The former has a wingspread of 30–35 mm and flies from June to August. The caterpillars feed on sorrel. The species is distributed in meadows in the forest zone of Europe and Asia. L. phlaeas has a wingspread of 25–30 mm. There are two generations: the first generation of butterflies flies in May and June, and the second in July and August. The caterpillars develop on sorrel and marjoram. The species is distributed in the northern hemisphere (except the far north).