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Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire - Branch Logo featuring the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly.Butterfly Conservation.

Butterflies - White-letter Hairstreak (Satyrium w-album)

The White-letter Hairstreak has a single brood flying from the beginning of July to mid August although some years may produce sightings in late June.

It is a small, brown butterfly which has an erratic flight and is rarely seen close-up. This butterfly is a difficult species to monitor because it spends most of its time in the tree canopy feeding on honeydew produced by aphids. They do occasionally come to ground to nectar on flowers near to elm trees, especially after periods of rain which may wash the leaves of honeydew.

On rare occasions, it can be found feeding on Creeping Thistle, Ragwort or Bramble blossom.

The uppersides are only seen in flight as the butterfly always settles with its wings closed.

  • Larval Food Plants
  • Habitat
  • Status
  • Key Sites
  • Links
  • Photographs

Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra)
English Elm (Ulmus procera)
Small-leaved Elm (Ulmus minor)

Sheltered hedgerows and woodland rides where Elms grow. Population numbers have been affected by the introduction of Dutch Elm Disease into the UK during the 1970's. Small colonies of this species may rely on one or two Elm trees fro their survival so the loss of a single Elm can result in the extinction of a colony.

The survival of this butterfly is linked closely to the future of Elm trees in our countryside. Sadly, our Elm trees continue to disappear. In 2011, a recently discovered breeding colony (first confirmed in 2009) consisting of two Elm trees was lost due to railway line enhancements near Weddington, Nuneaton.

Resident in Warwickshire.

Brandon Wood
Draycote Water
Elliots Field
Goldicote Cutting
Hartshill Hayes
Oversley Wood
Oxhouse Farm SSSI
Ryton Wood SSSI
Snitterfield Bushes
Ufton Fields
Watery Lane, Baddesley

Find out more about the White-letter Hairstreak online at the following links;

Flight Chart
The flight chart below is based on observations of the adult White-letter Hairstreak butterfly in Warwickshire between 2005 and 2008. Peak periods are shown in dark green.

White-letter Hairstreak Flight Chart

Distribution Maps

White-letter Hairstreak - 2011 records / distribution. White-letter Hairstreak - 2010 records / distribution. White-letter Hairstreak - 2000 to 2009 records / distribution.
2011 (1yr) 2010 (1yr) 2000-09 (10yr)

White-letter HairstreakWhite-letter Hairstreak © Steven Cheshire - Larvae on Elm at Ryton Wood, Warwickshire

Annual First Sightings
First sighting dates are based on records of White-letter Hairstreak submitted online. Please note that these dates are not updated retrospectively to include records submitted to the branch recorder in other forms.

19/06/2018 Ryton Wood

18/06/2017 Cuttlebrook Pool NR/Ryton Wood

03/07/2016 Ryton Wood

02/07/2015 Alne Wood

21/06/2014 Oversley Wood

12/07/2013 Ryton Wood

23/07/2012 Ryton Wood

22/06/2011 Elliot's Field Canal Embankment, Ru

30/06/2010 Oxhouse Farm North

27/06/2009 Oversley Wood

13/07/2008 Ryton Wood

19/06/2007 Ryton Wood

Other Species

Please select an alternative species from the list below.