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
- Key Sites
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.
Oxhouse Farm SSSI
Ryton Wood SSSI
Watery Lane, Baddesley
A photographic slideshow displaying various images of the White-letter Hairstreak is currently in development.
Details of how you can supply your own photographs for display here will be made available soon.
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.