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Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi

The Green Hairstreak is a small butterfly. The wing span is about 30 mm, which means it is the size of the Common Blue. In fresh animals the underside of the wing is bright green with a row of white spots. In older animals the green is often partly gone. In the picture a real old animal. It probably has quite some miles on the odometer. The upper side of the wings is dull brown. But you probably are never going to see that for yourself, for the Green Hairstreak never rests with the wings opened. Each wing has a very small tail. The Green Hairstreak is very common on heath. But it does live in other environments too, as long as there is a sandy soil. The green colour makes it very hard to spot the animal in shrubs. This species is on the wing in May, June and July mainly. Males are often seen together by the dozens on small trees or shrubs at a height of 1 to 1.5 meters.

The caterpillar is green as well and has two rows of light green humps on the back. It is not choosy at all and will eat the leaves and buds of many plants such as broom, blueberry and heathers. It is usually seen from June till September. Then it pupates among fallen leaves and being a pupa it overwinters.

A common species in most of Britain, but numbers are reported to be declining. In Holland it is a very common species and it is even enlarging its territory. The Green Hairstreak is found in Northern Africa, Europe, Northern Asia and Siberia.