Brown hairstreak

The Brown Hairstreak (Thecla betulae) is a butterfly species belonging to the family Lycaenidae, which is commonly referred to as the gossamer-winged butterflies. Here’s some information about the Brown Hairstreak:

  1. Physical Appearance: The Brown Hairstreak is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan ranging from 3 to 4 centimeters (approximately 1.2 to 1.6 inches). The upper side of its wings is mostly brown with orange spots near the edges, while the underside is lighter with intricate patterns of brown and white markings. It has a distinctive “hairstreak” line of black and orange dots near the edge of the hindwing.
  2. Distribution: The Brown Hairstreak is native to Europe, where it is found in various habitats such as woodland edges, hedgerows, scrublands, and grasslands. Its range extends from southern Scandinavia to the Mediterranean region and from the British Isles to eastern Europe.
  3. Life Cycle: The Brown Hairstreak undergoes complete metamorphosis, starting as an egg laid singly on the twigs of its host plants, which include blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and hawthorn (Crataegus spp.). The caterpillar, which is green with white markings, feeds on the leaves of these plants. After pupating, the adult butterfly emerges and typically flies from July to September, although this can vary depending on location.
  4. Behavior: Brown Hairstreaks are relatively sedentary butterflies, often perching on vegetation with their wings closed. They are known to be elusive and difficult to observe, spending much of their time in the treetops. Males occasionally descend to patrol for females, while females may venture down to lay eggs on host plants.
  5. Conservation: The Brown Hairstreak faces threats from habitat loss and fragmentation, particularly the destruction of hedgerows and woodland edges where its host plants grow. Conservation efforts focus on habitat restoration and management, including the planting of blackthorn and hawthorn to provide suitable breeding sites.
  6. Ecological Importance: Like other butterflies, the Brown Hairstreak plays a role in pollination and contributes to the biodiversity of its habitats. It also serves as an indicator species for the health of ecosystems, as declines in its population may reflect broader environmental changes.

Overall, the Brown Hairstreak is a fascinating butterfly species with a unique appearance and behavior, making it a sought-after sight for butterfly enthusiasts across its range.

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