Black Hairstreak (Satyrium pruni)

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2021 photographs highlighted in yellow. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

47049_male_Northants, UK_2Jun20

47052_male_Northants, UK_2Jun20

47002_female_Northants, UK_2Jun20

   

20335_sex?_Rhône_30May10

   

Until 2020 I had only ever seen pruni in three places, the first two occasions in central England (in 1998 and 2004), where it is now limited to about 45 sites, and in 2010 in central France. The site in Northamptonshire had good numbers of pruni in 2004 with an emergence earlier than most books suggest. As it is a small and well-known site, it attracts many visitors eager to see pruni.

 

It does not occur in the southern départements of France, and I only saw it in France in one location in the Rhône département in 2010 (courtesy of Tim Cowles) when it was generally reclusive high in the trees, as 20335 attests.

However, one of the few advantages of lockdown was that I would be in the UK for the flight period of pruni. I had been informed that 2020 was an early year for pruni, and so made a trip to the famed Northants site on 2 June. And that turned out to be a very good idea, as we saw at least 50 spread across the site, most high in the bushes except in the centre of the site where they came down to nectar on the patch of Brambles there. Strangely, they seemed copious and active in the morning, but were less visible in the afternoon.

 

Pruni is superficially quite similar to its Satyrium cousins, perhaps mostly to the White-letter Hairstreak (S. w-album).

ref

sex

observations

alt. m

47049 M a male, I believe, from what I can see of the end of the abdomen. 80
47052 M a male, also, for the same reasons as 47049. 80
47002 F a female, based on the appearance of the abdomen which appears to be particularly gravid, plus the fact that its apparently pristine appearance suggests a later emergence. 80

20335

?

the best photograph I could get, and this was some three metres above the ground, but at least it does show the distinctive continuous wide red marginal band.

170

 

47049_male_Northants, UK_2Jun20

 

47052_male_Northants, UK_2Jun20

 

47002_female_Northants, UK_2Jun20

 

20335_sex?_Rhône_30May10