Cycle of the Purple
The egg is a white compressed spheroid measuring 0.5 mm tall and
0.8 mm in diameter. It is laid singly on
twigs close to the flower buds on mature oak during July and
August. Although the larva is fully developed
within about three weeks, it does not hatch but overwinters
at this egg stage. Hatching occurs in early
April when the buds are expanding. This stage lasts c. 8 months.
© DHardiman 2006
The young larva bores into the bud on which it feeds but later
lives and feeds among leaves which it spins
together with silk threads to form a shelter, emerging at night to
feed openly on young foliage.
The woodlouse shaped adult larva is approximately 16 mm in length.
It is broad and short and flattened towards
the edges. The body is reddish-brown with a greyish-brown
mediodorsal line. On the sides are a series of
oblique dark brown markings. The small head is dark brown and
partly withdrawn into the body when at rest.
The larval stage lasts c.6 weeks.
© DHardiman 2002
Pupation takes place in a loose cocoon at the end on May, in crevices of
the bark or among moss or leaf litter at
the base of oak. The Purple Hairstreak does not possess
cremasteral hooks. It produces secretions that
attract ants and sometimes can be found deep inside ant's nests.
Duration of the pupal stage is c.4 weeks.
The Adult emerges and is in flight from late June to mid-September.
Purple Hairstreak © DHardiman