The Provence Hairstreak is a most distinctive butterfly, but unfortunately it is not easy to find even in the Mediterranean countries where it is known to be reasonably plentiful.
Male Provence Hairstreaks are dark brown above, while the females have large patches of metallic orange on both wings. For males and females, the underside hindwings are a most striking green colour and noticeably hairy on young adults, but the colour gradually changes to blue-green with age.
The wingspan of the Provencal Hairstreak is typically 2.5cm.
The Provence Hairstreak is not a British species. Its rather restricted range includes parts of southern France, the Iberian Peninsula and a broad strip of northern Africa.
This is a butterfly of dry grassy areas and wildflower meadows, where its low flight can make the Provencal Hairstreak difficult to follow.
This is a single-brood species and can sometimes be seen on the wing as early as January in southern Portugal and Spain, although February to April are its main flight months; the flight period extends into May in southern France.
Eggs are laid singly on the leaves of the foodplant - mainly Medick (Medicago spp.). The caterpillars have an association with ants, which are thought to protect them - a behavioural characteristic shared with other Lycaenid butterflies. Hybernating as pupae, Provence Hairstreaks emerge early in the year and can sometimes be seen warming themselves in the morning sunshine following a cold spring night.
Excited at the prospect of flyfishing? So are we, and we're pretty sure you would find the Winding River Mystery trilogy of action-packed thrillers gripping reading too. Dead Drift, Dead Cert, and Dead End are Pat O'Reilly's latest river-and-flyfishing based novels, and now they are available in ebook format. Full details on our website here...
Buy each book for just £4.96 on Amazon...
Please Help Us: If you have found this information interesting and useful, please consider helping to keep First Nature online by making a small donation towards the web hosting and internet costs.
Any donations over and above the essential running costs will help support the conservation work of Plantlife, the Rivers Trust and charitable botanic gardens - as do author royalties and publisher proceeds from books by Pat and Sue.