Predominantly Green Butterflies

Where required, photos and information have been reproduced with the kind permission of Butterfly Conservation.

In each section, the MALE is shown as the top line photograh(s)...photos of the FEMALE are shown on the second line.

 


Green Hairstreak

  JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Adult                         
Larva                        

Green Hairstreak - Photograph by Jim Asher

A small butterfly that is widespread throughout Britain and Ireland. Always rests with wings closed showing bright green undersides with faint line of white spots. Upperwings are brown giving brown appearance in flight.

Resident

Range stable.

The Green Hairstreak holds its wings closed, except in flight, showing only the green underside with its faint white streak. The extent of this white marking is very variable; it is frequently reduced to a few white dots and may be almost absent. Males and females look similar and are most readily told apart by their behaviour: rival males may be seen in a spiralling flight close to shrubs, while the less conspicuous females are more often encountered while laying eggs.

Although this is a widespread species, it often occurs in small colonies and has undergone local losses in several regions.

Conservation status

European/world range

Throughout Europe, parts of North Africa and across Asia to Siberia. It is stable in most of Europe but has declined in several countries.

Foodplants

Common Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium) and Common Bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) are used on calcareous grassland, while Gorse (Ulex europeaus), Broom (Cytisus scoparius), and Dyer''s Greenweed (Genista tinctoria) are used on heathland and other habitats. Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is used almost exclusively on moorland and throughout Scotland. Other foodplants include shrubs such as Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea), Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), Cross-leaved Heath (Erica tetralix), and Bramble (Rubus fruticosus).

Habitat

Green Hairstreak colonies may be found on calcareous grassland, woodland rides and clearings, heathland, moorland, bogs, railway cuttings, old quarries, and rough, scrubby grassland. This species occurs on a wide range of soils but is strongly associated with scrub and shrubs, which are usually present at sites where it breeds.

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