Purple Hairstreak (Neozephyrus quercus)
The Purple Hairstreak is a butterfly species frequently seen fluttering high up around oak trees during the sunny months of July and August. This small creatures are found in three different subspecies, viz. Neozephyrus quercus, Neozephyrus quercus longicaudatus, and Neozephyrus quercus iberica.
Description and Identification
The mature larva has a flat and broad leech-like shape with a beige yellow to tan orange coloration mixed with shades of brown. There is also a continuous white marking running through the center of the body along with a thin black line. The body is covered with very small and fine body hair.
The chrysalis is initially green and then turns orange-brown with dark brown spots on the back. They overwinter in its pupal stage and comes out in around spring or early summer.
Sexual Dimorphism: Faintly present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the males of the species display a shiny purplish glow on the dorsal side, whereas the females show a pair of patches only on the forewings. When the wings are closed, the ventral side exhibit a faint grey hue with a streak in white, bordered in black that runs down the central part of both the wings. Additionally, each of the secondary wings bear a short tail-like protrusion, as also a pair of orange spots towards the base.
Average wingspan: 37 to 39 mm
Flight pattern: Active flight; most often seen fluttering high up from ground level
White in color with a spherical shape and coarse surface, laid one at a time
|Distribution||Scattered throughout much of Europe, northern parts of Africa, Anatolia, Caucasia, and Transcaucasia|
|Habitat||Mostly woods, hedgerows and parks|
|Lifespan of adults||Up to 10 days|
|Host plants||Trees belonging to the oak (Quercus) group|
|Adult diet||Mostly honeydew; females sometimes consume flower nectar while laying eggs|
Did You Know?
- This small butterfly is even more difficult to spot since it flies around the tops of oak trees even in the urban areas.