Tuesday 21 May
Green hairstreak (Callophrys rubi)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Green hairstreak fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Green hairstreak description
The wings of the green hairstreak butterfly are dull brown on the uppersides, but bright green on the underside (1), with a white 'streak' across the fore- and hindwings (3). The sexes are very similar in appearance, but males can be distinguished by the presence of a small pale spot on each forewing (1). The plump caterpillar grows to 1.5 cm in length, and is flattened at each end. It is green in colour, with a brown head, has a dark line passing along the back and rows of diagonal yellowish-white markings (3).
- Wingspan: 2.5-3 cm (1)
Green hairstreak biology
One generation is produced each year (3); adults emerge from mid-April onwards (2) and the flight period is concentrated between May and early June in southern parts of England. Further north, the flight period may occur a month later (2). Females lay eggs singly on the buds or young shoots of the foodplants, after about a week the eggs hatch, and the caterpillars begin to feed (3). At the end of July the caterpillars descend to the ground, where they pupate in the leaf litter (3). The pupae produce audible squeaks, which attract ants, and a pupa has been found in a nest of the ant Myrmica sabuleti. It is believed that the pupae are buried by ants, but the species involved in this relationship are not known (2). The pupal stage hibernates, and the adults emerge the following spring (3). This species is the only hairstreak butterfly that hibernates as a pupa; it is therefore the earliest of these butterflies to emerge (2).Top
Green hairstreak range
This butterfly has a wide distribution in Scotland and Wales. It is also found on the Inner Hebrides and Arran (2). In England it is widespread in the north on moorlands, and on calcareous grasslands of the south. It has declined in eastern areas where these habitats are absent (2). Elsewhere the species is widespread in Ireland, and occurs throughout Europe and some parts of North Africa, extending through Asia to Siberia (2).Top
Green hairstreak habitat
Found in a wide range of habitats including calcareous grasslands, moorland, heathland, woodland clearings and rides, bogs, disused quarries and railway cuttings. It requires the presence of the foodplants of the caterpillars; on calcareous grasslands these are common rock rose (Helianthemum nummularium) and common bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus); on heathland gorse Ulex europeaus), broom (Cytisus scoparius) and dyer's greenwood (Genista tinctoria) are used, whilst bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is used on moorland. A range of other foodplants is also occasionally utilised (2).Top
Green hairstreak status
This species is not threatened, and is not listed under any conservation designations (2).Top
Green hairstreak threats
Despite being a widespread species at present, the green hairstreak has been lost in some areas as a result of habitat loss, changes in management, and neglect of sites (2). In upland areas, overgrazing is a threat, and in woodlands, over-shading has increased as a result of a decline in traditional woodland management techniques (2). Other potential threats include drainage and peat extraction in lowland areas, and tree-planting in the uplands (2).Top
Green hairstreak conservation
Relatively little is known of this butterfly, and it is likely that it has been under-recorded in some areas; both research and monitoring are therefore required to gain insights into this species (2).Top
Find out more
For more on this species see: The Millennium Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Europe (2001). By Asher, J., et al. Published by Oxford University Press.
For more on butterflies and their conservation see the Butterfly Conservation website:
AuthenticationThis information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgTop
- Containing free calcium carbonate, chalky.
- A winter survival strategy characteristic of some mammals in which an animal's metabolic rate slows down and a state of deep sleep is attained. Whilst hibernating, animals survive on stored reserves of fat that they have accumulated in summer. In insects, the correct term for hibernation is 'diapause', a temporary pause in development and growth. Any stage of the lifecycle (eggs, larvae, pupae or adults) may enter diapause, which is typically associated with winter.
- Stage in an insect's development when huge changes occur, which reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis.
- The process of forming a pupa, the stage in an insect's development, when huge changes occur that reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis.
- Often the footpaths and access tracks which run through and divide blocks of trees in woodland. Many rides contain a mixture of rich flora and structure, and provide different habitat conditions for a range of wildlife.
- Carter, D. (1992) Butterflies and moths. Dorling Kindersley, London.
- Asher, J., Warren, M., Fox, R., Harding, P., Jeffcoate, G. & Jeffcoate, S. (2001) The Millennium Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Carter, D. & Hargreaves, B. (1986) A field guide to caterpillars of butterflies and moths in Britain and Europe. William Collins & Sons Ltd, London.
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.