Butterfly Conservation It is worth looking up at prominent Ash trees along wood edges to see if small clusters of adults may be flitting around. They congregate to mate and feed on aphid honeydew. Adults also sometimes feed lower down on flowers such as Hemp-agrimony, Common Fleabane and Bramble. The females are most frequently seen as they disperse widely along hedgerows where they lay conspicuous white eggs on young Blackthorn shoots.

The butterfly often rests with its wings closed showing orange-brown underwings with two wavy white streaks and small tails. Uppersides are brown with an orange mark.

It is locally distributed in southern Britain and mid-west Ireland and has undergone a substantial decline due to hedgerow removal and annual flailing, which removes eggs.



Devon Branch of Butterfly Conservation Devon has around 39 resident butterfly species and we can help point you in the right direction on where and when is best to see them.  Why not join in our one of our Events (during the summer we organise field events to show you some of our resident butterfly species and in the winter we organise conservation work days to improve the habitat for butterflies in Devon).



Main Photo File:Lycaenidae - Thecla betulae-1.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

Inset File:Thecla betulae egg1.jpg - Wikimedia Commons


Devonshire Association Entomology Section The Entomology Section promotes the study and recording of insects and also spiders in the county.

Meetings, talks, exhibitions, publications and field trips are arranged annually across the county of Devon and are suitable for beginners and experienced alike. Field trips are usually held in association with other specialist groups with whom we maintain close links. We also meet with other sections to demonstrate, and learn, about the inter-relationships with other disciplines.

With at least ten specialists in different Orders within the insect class we cater for a wide range of interests. Some of our Recorders are national experts in their field and hence we are the major collective source of entomological expertise in the county.



Devon Wildlife Trust Monitoring if brown hairstreak butterflies happens in the winter months and so we will restart again in November 2021. Usually we will hold training session in November to help you get started. In 2020 we also held an online training which you can now watch online. Brown Hairstreak butterflies are important for us to monitor and record because they rely on well connected, high quality treescapes for all stages of their life cycle. Devon is also one of the last national strongholds of this scarce butterfly.



Devon Biodiversity Record Centre Submit your sightings of Brown Hairstreaks and other species in Devon



DEFRA MAGIC Priority area for Countryside Stewardship measures addressing Brown Hairstreak habitat issues



UK Butterflies This is the largest hairstreak found in the British Isles. It is a local species that lives in self-contained colonies that breed in the same area year after year. This species can also prove elusive, since it spends much of its time resting and basking high up in tall shrubs and trees. The female is particularly beautiful, with forewings that contain large orange patches, and was once considered to be a separate species known as the "Golden Hairstreak". This species is found in the southern half of England and Wales, and also around the Burren in Ireland. In England its strongholds are in West Sussex, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, North Devon and South Devon. Strongholds in Wales are in Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire. In Ireland it is primarily found in the Burren limestones of Clare and South-east Galway. The northernmost sites are found in North Lincolnshire.



British Naturalist's Association 

There are 56 British butterflies species breeding in the UK. These are represented by just six families, skippers (Hesperiidae): swallowtails (Papilionidae): whites and yellows (Pieridae): hairstreaks, coppers and blues (Lycaenidae): metalmarks (Riodinidae) and the fritillaries, nymphalids and browns (Nymphalidae)

Two of these families are represented by only one species, the Papilionidae by the swallowtail (Papilio machaon), which is confined to Norfolk Broads and the Riodinidae by the Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina) found only in local areas in the north-east, north-west and south-east England.

Twenty nine of Great Britain’s breeding butterfly species are listed as ‘High UK priority’, with 9 of those regarded as requiring ‘urgent action across their UK range’. Butterfly Conservation found further evidence of the serious, long-term and ongoing decline of UK butterflies, with 70% of species declining in occurrence since 1976. and overall, 76% of the UK’s resident and regular migrant butterfly species declined in either abundance or occurrence (or both) over the past four decades. By comparison, 47% of species increased in one or both measures. This is of great concern not just for butterflies but for other wildlife species and the overall state of the environment.



Buglife is the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates. We’re actively working to save Britain’s rarest little animals, everything from bees to beetles, worms to woodlice and jumping spiders to jellyfish.



National Biodiveristy Network The NBN Atlas is a collaborative project that aggregates biodiversity data from multiple sources and makes it available and usable online. It is the UK’s largest collection of freely available biodiversity data.



Wikipedia The brown hairstreak (Thecla betulae) is a butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. The range includes most of the Palaearctic. A little butterfly that is found along hedges, scrub, and wood edges but is often overlooked since it spends much of its time high in the tree canopy. Like the purple emperor this butterfly uses 'master trees', usually European ash (Fraxinus excelsior). Males and unmated females congregate at the tops of isolated trees. Once mated the female descends to lower levels to begin laying her eggs. Males rarely descend and both feed mainly on honeydew. Both sexes are dark brown on the upperside with orange tails. The female also has a bright orange band across both forewings. The undersides are similar in both sexes and are bright orange with two white streaks. In Europe the female lays her eggs on blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) in late August which overwinter, hatching the following spring when the buds are breaking. It has been found that the best way to find breeding sites for this species is to look for the conspicuous white eggs in the winter. The larvae are extremely well camouflaged and feed only at night, remaining motionless during the day. Pupation takes place in leaf litter on the ground in late June or early July and are attractive to ants who will bury them in shallow cells. This butterfly species is protected in the UK via Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981.


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