Butterflies of Europe
DENIS & SCHIFFERMULLER, 1775
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Satyrium spini, Velebit Mts,
are 64 described species in the genus Satyrium,
which has at various times been known by the invalid synonyms
Nordmannia, Pseudothecla and
Strymonidia. The genus occurs across the
temperate, sub-arctic and subtropical regions of the northern
There are 7 species in Europe -
and ledereri; of which only
w-album and pruni
occur in Britain.
is found in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria,
Germany, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, and east to Iraq
species is found mainly in hot, dry, scrubby habitats including
woodland clearings, grassland, lightly wooded mountainsides and bushy
meadows; typically at altitudes between sea level and about 1500m,
although colonies occur as high as 2000m in Greece.
Hairstreak is single-brooded, flying from late May to early August
depending on locality and altitude.
The eggs are
usually laid in groups of between 3-5 on woody twigs of the
foodplants, usually close to a fork. They are a dirty whitish colour
with a prominent micropyle, and are covered in a fine network
polygonal depressions. The caterpillars are fully formed within the
eggs shortly after they are laid in the summer, but do not hatch
until the following March.
caterpillar is woodlouse-shaped but with well defined segments. It
is green, slightly hairy, and marked along the back with a pair of
broken cream stripes. There are a series of forward-slanting
suffused creamy diagonal bars along the sides, and a solid cream
line below the spiracles. If feeds on Rhamnus
( buckthorn ), usually resting on the underside of the stems or
leaves. In common with most other Lycaenidae species the larvae are
tended by ants which "milk" them to obtain sugary substances
secreted from their dorsal gland.
The chrysalis is
attached by a fine silken girdle to the underside, or occasionally
to the upperside, of a living leaf of the foodplant. It is pale
brown, heavily speckled. It is plump in form, rounded at the head
and tail, and covered in short bristly hairs.
adults can easily be overlooked due to their reclusive and sedentary
nature, and are normally only seen in two's or three's, although
occasionally colonies of 100 or more can be found.
Both sexes nectar
the flowers of a wide variety of herbaceous plants including wood
spurge, yarrow, lavender, stonecrop and thyme. They also visit the
flowers of bramble bushes.