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East Midlands Branch Butterfly Conservation

Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi


The Green Hairstreak is found in a wide range of habitats including moorland, disused quarries and railway lines, scrubby hillsides.and heathland. It requires warm open areas with some scrub and shelter from the wind.


The Green Hairstreak is the smallest of the hairstreaks and is the only British butterfly with a truly green underside. As the wings are always held closed when perched, it is unlikely to be confused with other species. The brown uppersides are rarely seen. Both sexes are similar in appearance, but behaviour is quite different. Males spend much of their time perched on vegetation defending their territory, whereas females are less conspicuous.

Flight times

Green Hairstreaks are single brooded and overwinter in the chrysalis stage so emerge quite early in late April. They remain on the wing until the end of June.

Food plants

Eggs are laid on a wide variety of plants, often associated with Gorse, Bilberry & Broom, but also various members of the pea family including Common Bird's-foot-trefoil.

Green Hairstreak - © Simon Jenkins cut out picture of green-hairstreak butterfly

Distribution Maps for the East Midlands Region

Green Hairstreak distribution map 2010
2010 Summary
No of tetrads 31
First sighting 19/04/2010
Last sighting 08/07/2010
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2011
2011 Summary
No of tetrads 34
First sighting 07/04/2011
Last sighting 31/05/2011
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2012
2012 Summary
No of tetrads 28
First sighting 28/03/2012
Last sighting 26/06/2012
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2013
2013 Summary
No of tetrads 41
First sighting 29/04/2013
Last sighting 29/06/2013
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2014
2014 Summary
No of tetrads 63
First sighting 12/04/2014
Last sighting 19/06/2014
Green Hairstreak distribution map 2005-09

Combined records for the five year period 2005-09

Green Hairstreak distribution map 2010-14

Combined records for the five year period 2010-14

Green Hairstreak distribution map comparison of 2005-09 & 2010-14

Comparison of years 2005-09 & 2010-14

Although distribution has expanded in the Peak District, records are very sparse from other parts of the region.


Photo Gallery

Green Hairstreak

Green Hairstreak © Simon Jenkins

Green Hairstreak

Green Hairstreak © Simon Jenkins

Green Hairstreak

Green Hairstreak © Simon Jenkins

Green Hairstreak

Green Hairstreak © Christine Maughan

Green Hairstreak Green Hairstreak Green Hairstreak Green Hairstreak
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Similar or Easily Confused Species and ID Hints

Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi

Old and overmature Green Hairstreak can loose much of their green colouration, leaving only a dull brown. This can cause confusiton with other small brown butterflies.

A worn Green Hairstreak lacking most of its green colouration
A worn Green Hairstreak lacking most of it's green colouration - © Simon Jenkins
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