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Green Hairstreak

Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Well camouflaged and not always easy to find. 


  • Green Hairstreak: master of disguise

    Post date: Tuesday, 13 May, 2014 - 00:00

    The green hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) is the only truly green British butterfly and so it is unmistakable, provided you see it in the first place that is. Being green and leaf shaped they are extremely well camouflaged and they have a fast fluttery flight so they quite often go undetected. However, it is a really lovely butterfly and a joy to behold.

    They are generally in flight from about the middle of May until the end of June. Many years go by without me seeing them at all but in 2011, for example, by the end of May I had already seen them at three different locations. Those were my first sightings in Dorset since I moved here in 2006.

    The green hairstreak is associated with the edges of woodland, scrub, heath and downland, anywhere there are plenty of shrubs about. Here in Dorset they should be seen in all sorts of places but, sadly, this does not seem to be the case. This might be a species that could benefit from better springs should the climate change that way.


  • Green Hairstreak in Dorset: what your tweets tell us ...

    Post date: Thursday, 18 April, 2019 - 21:06

    Being the only British butterfly that is green makes the green hairstreak easy to identify but being green it merges with the leaves of the shrubs it rests on and so can be difficult to spot! It is also a small butterfly and quite sedentary spending long periods at rest on shrubbery so it is probably under recorded as far aa the Nature of Dorset database is concerned. They are best observed when they make short flights by watching for where they land and heading for that point. The female is brown rather than green and is even more difficult to find! They are found in shrubby habitats and are particularly fond of heath where they utilise gorse and broom. They are seen from late April through until the end of June.

    The reports in the Nature of Database show first sightings from week 16 which is the end of April and ties in with the textbook and there are then reports every week until week 26 which is the end of June, again in line with the textbook. The most reports  certainly come in May.

    There are survey records from thirty sites of which about a third are heathland; here in Dorset it seems scrub on chalk or limestone is preferred and bird's-foot trefoil and common rockrose are included amongst their preferred food plants. Ballard Down, Bindon Hill and Giant Hill seem to have good colonies present.


Common Name Green Hairstreak
Scientific Name Callophrys rubi
Species Group Lycaenid Butterflies Blues and Hairstreaks
Interest Level
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Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Preferred Environment
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Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Lycaenid Butterflies Blues and Hairstreaks