Green Hairstreak

  • Green Hairstreak (underwing)
    Green Hairstreak (underwing)
  • Green Hairstreak with bee
    Green Hairstreak with bee
  • Green Hairstreak
    Green Hairstreak
  • Green Hairstreak (egg)
    Green Hairstreak (egg)
  • Green Hairstreak (pupa)
    Green Hairstreak (pupa)
  • Green Hairstreak (underwing)
    Green Hairstreak (underwing)
  • Green Hairstreak with bee
    Green Hairstreak with bee
  • Green Hairstreak
    Green Hairstreak
  • Green Hairstreak (egg)
    Green Hairstreak (egg)
  • Green Hairstreak (pupa)
    Green Hairstreak (pupa)

Scientific name: Callophrys rubi

The only green-coloured butterfly in the UK, although the metallic green colouring is only on the undersides of the wings.

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.

Size and Family

  • Family – Hairstreaks
  • Small Sized 
  • Wing Span Range (male to female) - 33mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP status: Not listed    
  • Butterfly Conservation priority: Medium                        
  • European status: Not threatened

Caterpillar 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).

Distribution

  • Countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
  • Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland, but not a garden visitor and often difficult to spot
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = Britain: -29%

Habitat

Many habitats including; chalk 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. 

Factsheets

Similar species