White-letter Hairstreaks are out at Alners

White-letter Hairstreak on bramble flower
White-letter Hairstreak. Photo: David Simmonds

White-letter Hairstreaks are very rare now, as their caterpillars depend on elm, and the numbers of elm in the UK are still hugely depleted due to Dutch Elm disease.We are delighted that our Alners Gorse Butterfly Reserve, which is being managed partly for these butterflies, is a good place to go to see them and we are receiving comments that the numbers are good this year. They may only be visible high up in the elms, but they do sometimes come down to feed on bramble, as shown in this lovely shot by David Simmonds.

If you see any anywhere else in Dorset please report them to our Sightings Page – we suspect there are more around than we currently know.

You can see the longer-term statistics for this butterfly on our Butterfly Atlas page.


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