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purple hairstreak   <>   FAVONIUS quercus   <>   stiallach corcra


© D Hardiman 2004    

Habitat:  The Purple Hairstreak is local and scattered around Ireland in the remnants of oak woodlands.  It is rarely seen except through binoculars, spending most of its time high in the canopy of oak and ash trees.  
It is single brooded. 
Larval Food Plant:  Oak  Quercus spp.                                
Flight Time:   July to mid-September
Hibernation:   Overwinters as an ova. 
The upperwings of the male have a deep purple sheen with a dark border.  The female forewings are purplish-black and have a velvety sheen with a bright purple bar crossed by a black vein on both.  The hindwings are a uniform purplish black.

The underwings are similar in bothe sexes.  The forewings are grey transversed by a white line inwardly edged brown.  The hindwings are similar in ground colour with the white line ending in a W-shape at the tornus.  Near the short black tipped tail is a black centered orange spot and below this is another orange mark which extends inwards along the lower margin towards the white line.


FFemale Purple Hairstreak   © DHardiman 2004



                                                                                    Life Cycle of  the Purple Hairstreak


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.

PurpleHairstreak ovum (magnified) ©DHardiman '06

            ©  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  The small head is dark brown and partly withdrawn into the body when at rest.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.

 Female Purple Hairstreak      © DHardiman 2004



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Hesperidae ] Pieridae ] Lycaenidae ] Nymphalidae ] Satyridae ] Migrants ] .