Purple Hairstreak - Neozephyrus quercus

Scientific Name: Neozephyrus quercus.

English Name: Purple Hairstreak.

French Name: La Thécla du chene (='the oak Thecla').

5 Key Characters:
  • virtually never rests with open wings.
  • underside gray with an irregular fine dark and white line (presumably the 'hairstreak').
  • short fine tail on hindwing.
  • two orange eyespots, one below the tail, one just above.
  • upperside dark brownish black with blue flush or reflections.
Lookalikes: Other Hairstreaks. The one you are most likely to encounter is the Ilex Hairstreak Satyrium ilicis, which is brown underneath, with a broken hairstreak line.

Habitat: Oak woods and copses. We have also recorded it nectaring on bramble on the edges of the Parc de Boussay, a large managed mixed forest a few kilometres from Preuilly-sur-Claise, and in the gardens of the Chateau of Chenonceau, where they were sheltering in a Mexican Mock Orange Choisya bush and coming to drink at a puddle in the path in numbers, close to a large Holm Oak Quercus ilex.

Flight Period: June-July-August-September.

Caterpillar: Small, camouflage pattern in brown, April to June.

Host Plant: Several species of oak (Downy Oak Q. pubescens, Sessile Oak Q. petraea, Holm Oak Q. ilex).

Status: Widespread and quite abundant, but often difficult to see, so tends to be under recorded.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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