Brown Hairstreak

Thecla betulae

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Female, Switzerland, September 2013



Female, Switzerland, October 2013



Female, Switzerland, October 2013

Female, Switzerland, August (31st) 2006

Thecla betulae

Male, Switzerland, August 2014

Female ovipositing, Switzerland, August (31st) 2006

Female, Switzerland, August 2006

Same female, Switzerland, August 2006

Female, Switzerland, October 2008

Female, Switzerland, August 2006



Egg, January 2009



Egg, January 2010

Egg, January 2009



Egg, January 2009

Switzerland, January 2010.
The egg stands out clearly on a blackthorn twig.



Here are three eggs in April 2010. The one on the right has hatched.



A young caterpillar, Switzerland, May 2010



Switzerland, May 2010



Switzerland, May 2010



A more mature larva, May 2010



A fully-grown larva

Male, September 1999, Britanny

Male (frame from an analogue video, September 1999)

I only see this butterfly in a few favoured places - some in England, near Oxford, one in Britanny, right next to the coast, and a couple in Switzerland. At these sites it is regular and predictable. Elsewhere I do not come across the species, though obviously it is very widespread, if local. One reason it is hard to spot is that the males spend a lot of time high in trees (like many hairstreaks). However, they do also take nectar at flowers, particularly hemp agrimony in my experience, and the females are relatively easier to see at lower levels laying their eggs in sloe bushes.

This is a lovely butterfly, especially the female. The colours are autumnal, like the butterfly, but brilliant when fresh. It is also quite large, and when tumbling out of a sloe bush looks not unlike an early falling leaf. The female lays eggs quite conspicuously on the branches of sloe and in winter looking for these little white blobs is a favoured way of locating the butterfly. However, all the brown hairstreaks I have found have been located by searching sloe bushes in August and September for the butterfly itself.