Home The Butterflies of Gloucestershire Species Habitats Conservation

Brown Hairstreak

Thecla betulae
Male, 16 August 1988 Female, 27 August 1978


The Brown Hairstreak is a scarce species which needs open woodland or hedgerows with a lot of Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa).

Woodland ride edged by Blackthorn, a suitable habitat for Brown Hairstreak

Conservation Issues

The Brown Hairstreak depends mainly on hedgerows, and its early stages are vulnerable to their management by heavy mechanical trimming.

Destruction of hedgerows to make larger fields is also a threat to the species.

Flight Period

The adult butterflies are usually seen in August and September.


The Brown Hairstreak has colonies in north Wiltshire, and the species has been recorded recently for certain on two occasions in Gloucestershire very close to the county border. One of these records was of an egg in winter (the eggs are quite easy to identify).

Males of the day-flying Vapourer moth are sometimes mistaken for Brown Hairstreak.

A South Gloucestershire colony appears to have died out, with no recorded sightings for many years. Early in the 20th century the species had colonies close to Gloucester.

No map - species found in just one place