Coppers and Hairstreaks

A guide to butterfly species commonly found in Dorset

Brown Hairstreak

Thecla Betulae

Brown Hairstreak upper wingsBrown Hairstreask side view

Photos: Left Geoff Hiscocks, Right Adrian Read

When to see:

End July to Early October.
Peak: Mid-August to Mid-September

Habitat:

Hedgerows and mixed Oak/Ash woodland.

Where to see:

Lydlinch Common, Alners Gorse

Foodplants:

Blackthorn

Behaviour:

?

Atlas: Distribution map & population trends

 

Green Hairstreak

Callophrys rubi

Green Hairstreak butterflyGreen Hairstreak
When to see:

Mid April to Early July.
Peak: Mid-May to Mid-June

Habitat:

Downland, scrubby commons

Where to see:

Cashmoor, Clubmens Down, Fontmell Down, Hod Hill, Melbury Down, Higher Hyde, Oakers Wood, Studland, Cerne Abbas, Powerstock North, Avon Heath CP North, Avon Heath CP South, Ham Common, Upton Heath North

Foodplants:

Gorse, Rock Rose, Broom

Behaviour:

Perch

Atlas: Distribution map & population trends

 

Purple Hairstreak

Quercusia quercus

Purple HairstreakPurple Hairstreak butterfly
When to see:

End June to End August.
Peak: Mid July to Mid August

These butterflies spend their time high in oak trees and are best seen in the early evening. Look up into the tree tops and they can be seen whirling in and out of the canopy. There is a good description and photo in this article by D Newland.

Habitat:

Mixed Oak/Ash woodland

Where to see:

Deadmoor Common, Duncliffe Wood, Fifehead Wood, Piddles Wood, Kinson Common, Moors Valley CP, Stour Valley, Alners Gorse

Foodplants:

Oak

Behaviour:

Perch aggressive

Atlas: Distribution map & population trends

 

White-letter Hairstreak

Strymonidia w-album

White-letter Hairstreak butterflyWhite letter Hairstreak under leaf
When to see:

Late June to End August.
Peak: Early July to Early August

Habitat:

Flowering Elm Hedgerows

Where to see:

Alners Gorse

Foodplants:

Elm, Lime

Behaviour:

?

Atlas: Distribution map & population trends

 

Small Copper

Lycaena phlaeas

Small CopperSmall Copper butterfly
When to see:

May to Late June.
July to Early September.
Mid September to End October.
Peak: Early May to Early June, Mid July to Mid August, Early October.

Habitat:

Downland, open rough ground

Where to see:

Fontmell Down, Hod Hill, Ballard Down, Durlston CP East, Durlston CP West, Tadnoll, Townsend Quarry, Kingcombe Redholm, Kingcombe Stones, Lorton Meadows, Portland Perryfields, Avon Heath CP North, Avon Heath CP South, Ham Common, Kinson Common, Moors Valley CP, Pamphill, Sopley Common, Stour Valley, Upton Heath North

Foodplants:

Sheep's Sorrel, Dock

Behaviour:

Perch

Atlas: Distribution map & population trends