Callophrys rubi

Green Hairstreak


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2017

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2019

Field notes and information

A common and widespread species of diverse habitats, very frequently encountered in spring.

Identification & Similar species: The only similar species is the rare, very local and restricted (coastal France, Spain and north Africa) Chapman's green hairstreak, C.avis, which is restricted to north Africa, Spain and small regions of Mediterranean France. Refer to that species for notes on separating the two species.

Distribution & Flight: Very widespread across north Africa and all of Europe. It is generally common where it is found.

It flies early in the season, dates depending on locality and altitude. Usually it is not found after mid June but I have odd records from July and even August and exceptionally one fresh specimen in October.

Habitat & Behaviour: Diverse. Open places and clearings in woodland from sea level to alpine meadows usually with scrub or bushes. Damp or dry conditions. Feeds on a wide range of mostly woody plants, but also some herbs.

Often sits on leaves of trees and bushes where its green underside renders it near-invisible. Certainly it is almost impossible to spot a resting butterfly unless you have seen it land or it moves. Never opens its wings when resting.

Variation: The underside hindwing white stripe is variable in intensity and continuity.

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2010

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2020

Several butterflies were strongly attracted to this cap.

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2019

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Var, France, April 2018

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Var, France, March/ April 2008

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Vaud, Switzerland, May 2019

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Valais, Switzerland, May 2022

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Valais, Switzerland, August 2012

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Provence, France, April 2004

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SW Serbia, June 2012

Most individuals found here in mid June were very fresh - extremely late in the season at low altitude.

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SW Serbia, June 2012

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Provence, France, April 2004

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Valais, Switzerland, April 2010