Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Adults. Wingspan 27–34 mm; the fringes conspicuously light-and-dark banded (at least on the hindwings), or not banded. Medium built; short-bodied. The eyes white-rimmed; notched or emarginate at the bases of the antennae and contiguous with the bases of the antennal sockets; hairy. Antennae white-ringed, reaching about halfway to the wingtips. The antennal clubs gradual-elongate; curved (tapered); flattened to not flattened. Labial palps ascending. Having all 6 legs fully developed and operational for walking. Fore-legs without a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 2-spurred.

Forewings. Forewings apically blunt to pointed. The outer and hind margins angled at about 90–100 degrees. The outer margins more or less straight. Uppersides of the forewings rather dark, ochreous-tinged fuscous, or dark brown; with a conspicuous discal mark (this dark), or without a discal mark; unpatterned.

Hindwings. Hindwings broadly rounded; shortly tailed; with the outer margins scalloped. Uppersides of the hindwings rather dark, ochreous-tinged fuscous, or dark brown; plain; without a discal mark; unpatterned.

Undersides of wings. Undersides of the wings not multiply patterned with pale-ringed black spots or sinuous lines.

Undersides of the forewings rather metallic bright green, forewings becoming fuscous dorsally and often with a dotted white posmedian line. Undersides of the forewings bright green.

Undersides of the hindwings rather metallic bright green, often with a postmedian white line or row of dots; bright green; without a discal mark.

Wing venation. Forewings 10 veined. Forewings with 1 tubular anal vein to with 2 tubular anal veins; the anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only, or comprising 1b and 1c (the weak 1a tubular basally); vein 1b simple. Forewings with a discal cell (with a weak transverse vein). Forewing vein 5 present only distally to the weak transverse vein, and the "vein 8" branch from 7 lacking.

Hindwings 9 veined; without a praecostal spur; with 2 anal veins; exhibiting vein 1a; the anal veins comprising 1a and 1b. Hindwings with a closed discal cell; the transverse vein vestigial only. The cell-derived hindwing veins 3+4 proximally joined (connate).

Eggs, larvae, pupae. Eggs discoid; finely, densely spinulose. The larvae woodlouse-shaped; having no known association with ants (the honey gland being vestigial). On Ulex, Genista, Cytisus, Vaccinium, also buds of Rubus and Cornus, and berries of Rhamnus; notoriously cannibalistic.

Pupae smooth and rounded; more or less concealed (amongst refuse or subterranean).

British representation. 1 species. Callophrys rubi (Green Hairstreak). The adults abroad June and July.

Status in Britain. Indigenous.

Distribution. Northern Scotland, southern Scotland, northern England, English Midlands, East Anglia, Wales, southeast England, central southern England, southwest England, Isle of Wight, and Ireland. Frequenting open places. Habitats calcareous and non-calcareous.

Classification. Superfamily Papilionoidea. Lycaenidae.

Illustrations. • Callophrys rubi (Green Hairstreak): photos. • Larva and pupa of Callophrys rubi: Duponchel (1849). • Callophrys rubi (Green Hairstreak): egg, larva, pupa. • Callophrys rubi (Green Hairstreak: Hübner/Curtis).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2008 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: butterflies. Version: 16th May 2016.’.