Purple Hairstreak

Favonius (Quercusia) quercus

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Purple hairstreak - Favonius quercus

Male, Switzerland, September 2013

Purple hairstreak - Favonius quercus

Male taking minerals, Switzerland, September 2013



Female, Switzerland, July 2009



Female, Switzerland, July 2010



Female, Switzerland, July 2010



Female, Switzerland, July 2009



Val d'Aran, July 2005

Quercusia quercus ibericus

Subspecies ibericus, Andalucía, July 2017

Quercuisa quercus ibericus

Subspecies ibericus, Andalucía, July 2017



Female, Suffolk, July 2008 (photo Mrs J. Padfield)


Female, Suffolk, UK, August 2005 (she is old and all the purple is washed out)

Male, Suffolk, July 2002



Three eggs on an oak twig, Switzerland, January 2011

An egg on an oak sprig, Switzerland, January 2010

Two eggs on oak buds, Switzerland, January 2010



Egg, Switzerland, January 2010



Egg, Switzerland, January 2010

This is the commonest woodland hairstreak in Europe, being found pretty well everywhere there are oak trees. Just one large oak is sufficient to sustain a colony. Despite this, it is elusive and most often seen clustering in the tops of trees - often ash, rather than oak - where it can flash silver as it catches the evening or morning sun. Males do come down to take minerals on the ground and females can be found laying eggs relatively low down too, so photo opportunities do arise.

The male has a purple sheen over the whole of his wings but this is only visible from some angles and soon lost as the butterfly gets worn. The female has purple only in the cell and the wing bases. The eggs are relatively easy to find on or near oak buds. The caterpillar emerges when the buds loosen in spring and soon burrows into one for his its first meal. The butterflies appear on the wing in July (sometimes June) and may be seen into the autumn.