Neozephyrus quercus | Purple Hairstreak | Stiallach corcra

Pre 2017

2017 - 2021


Conservation status

Ireland: Least Concern (Regan et al., 2010)
Europe: Least Concern (van Swaay et al., 2010)
Climate risk category: Potential Climate Change Risk; present distribution in Europe can be explained by climate to only a limited extent (Settele et al., 2008)

Legal status

The Purple Hairstreak is not afforded legal protection in Ireland.

Native status


Species Biology


Key identification features include:

  • Small size, wingspan: 31 - 44 mm
  • Flies at canopy level of oak trees; best sighted using binoculars. May descend in late afternoon after rain.
  • Upperside of wings sooty black with prominent deep-purple iridescent streaks on the female


Specialist, found in mature stands of Oak. Adults spend most of the time high in the canopy of Oak trees, males being
usually higher than females. There they feed on honeydew, not on flowers, but they may occasionally descend to lower levels for feeding. Although they are active mainly in sunshine, they may also fly in dull conditions in warm weather (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Life stages

Life cycle

Eggs are laid singly, or occasionally in pairs, on the tip of a twig, or at the base of a bud on a small Oak branch. Although all parts of the tree can be selected, sunny, sheltered boughs are the most favoured. The larvae hatches in early April. It lives under a web spun over the stem, bracts and leaf-bases; the debris resulting from its feeding collects in the web, making the larva difficult to recognise. Pupation occurs in late June or early July in a very slight network cocoon, on the ground under leaf-litter or moss, or in crevices in the trunks or larger branches oaks. The pupa has also been recorded in ants’ nests. Overwintering as an egg that sometimes contains a fully developed larva (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Food plants

Specialist, the larvae feed exclusively on Oak (Quercus spp.).

Flowers visited

Specialist, the adults largely feed on honeydew/sap, but nectar sources can include: Bramble (Rubus fruticosus), Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) and Hogweed / Angelica (Umbelliferae).


World distribution(GBIF)

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.



Bond, K.G.M. and Gittings, T. 2008. Database of Irish Lepidoptera. 1 - Macrohabitats, microsites and traits of Noctuidae and butterflies. Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 35. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin, Ireland.

Regan, E.C., Nelson, B., Aldwell, B., Bertrand, C., Bond, K., Harding, J., Nash, D., Nixon, D. and Wilson, C.J. 2010. Ireland Red List No. 4 – Butterflies. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Ireland.

Settele, J., Kudrna, O., Harpke, A., Kühn, I., Van Swaay, C., Verovnik, R., Warren, M.S., Wiemers, M., Hanspach, J., Hickler, T. and Kühn, E. 2008. Climatic risk atlas of European butterflies. Sofia-Moscow: Pensoft.

Van Swaay, C., Cuttelod, A., Collins, S., Maes, D., López Munguira, M., Šašic, M., Settele, J., Verovnik, R., Verstrael, T., Warren, M., Wiemers, M. and Wynhof, I. 2010. European Red List of Butterflies. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.