32 - 35mm
The sexes are similar; the forewings have bright orange-red upper and lower sides, but the upper have an outer margin of deep brown, with 8 or 9 spots. On the underside, these spots are yellow ringed and the border is a pale brown colour. The hindwings are deep brown with an orange border and a very small tail: undersides are sandy brown speckled with a dozen tiny black dots and a pale orange border.
There may be three broods, so the insect could possibly be seen from April through to October or November, but with only a few in June. The peak times are May and August. It prefers hot weather when it will be so active that it can almost be missed due to rapid flight. If there is a third generation in October the flight time is very short.
The Small Copper settles onto any convenient flower such as Hawkweeds, Daisies, Valerian, Knapweeds or shrub blossom. On chalk downland it prefers Hawkbit, or Marjoram, but only if the latter is near its chosen area of breeding.