Brown hairstreak - Thecla betulae

Female Underside.  

Family: Lycaenidae

Flight Time: Late July - September

Size: 34-36mm

Altitude: 50-1500m


A delightful butterfly, far more glamorous than its rather drab sounding name suggests. While colonies can be quite large and the species is not exactly rare it can be quite tough to find. The males tend to congregate at a 'master' tree while the females, once fertilised, wander widely to lay eggs on young Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) bushes.

She tends to crawl through the undergrowth, rather than fly, which as well as making her tricky to see, makes photographs tricky also.

Female Upperside.



Fact File

Similar Species Foodplants Habitat Distribution


Blackthorn - Prunus spinosa Mature scrub with clearings

Brown hairstreak distribution.

Change map to  


Early Stages




All pictures in these pages copyright to Simon Coombes. Permission must be sought and obtained for any use.