Home / Gossamer-Winged (Lycaenidae) / Purple Hairstreak (Neozephyrus quercus)

Purple Hairstreak (Neozephyrus quercus)


Purple Hairstreak

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.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Genus: Neozephyrus
  • Scientific Name: Neozephyrus quercus

Description and Identification


Purple Hairstreak Caterpillar

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.

Adult Butterfly

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.

Male Purple Hairstreak
Female Purple Hairstreak

Average wingspan: 37 to 39 mm

Flight pattern: Active flight; most often seen fluttering high up from ground level


Purple Hairstreak Eggs

White in color with a spherical shape and coarse surface, laid one at a time

Quick Facts

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.
Neozephyrus Quercus
Purple Hairstreak Butterfly Habitat
Purple Hairstreak Butterfly Images
Purple Hairstreak Butterfly
Purple Hairstreak Photos
Purple Hairstreak Pictures

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Lycaenidae
  • Genus: Neozephyrus
  • Scientific Name: Neozephyrus quercus
Published by Poppy Glendening on April 12, 2019.
Last Updated: October 15, 2023. ✅ Verified by: Butterfly Team