A Green Hairstreak resting at Bittesby Disused Railway Line, Leicestershire. © 2017 - 2019 Steven Cheshire.
This little butterfly is easily overlooked due to its colouration. The upper sides of its wings are brown, but this is rarely seen since the Green Hairstreak always closes its wings when not in flight. The green undersides are a vivid iridescent metallic green often edged in brown with white spots forming a feint white 'streak' on the underside of the hind wings. The extent of the white marking is highly variable and, in some cases, almost absent.
Its flight is rapid and jerky. Territorial males often return to the same perch while the females are more often seen when searching for larval food plants upon which to lay their eggs.
In Warwickshire, the Green Hairstreak is found on Calcareous grassland, scrubby grassland, woodland rides and clearings, heathland, old quarries and railway cuttings.
The larvae of the Green Hairstreak feed on a variety of plant species depending upon the habitat.
On grassland such as that which occurs at our Butterfly Conservation Reserve at Ryton Wood Meadows, the larvae of theGreen Hairstreak feed on Bird's-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatis) and occasionally Bramble (Rubus fruticosus), Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) and Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica).
On heathland sites like Sutton Park, the larvae of the Green Hairstreak feed on Cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), Crowberry (Empetrium nigrum), Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus), Gorse (Ulex europeaus), Broom (Cytisus scoparius) and Dyer's Greenweed (Genista tinctoria).
See maps below. Distribution text required.