White-letter Hairstreak - Satyrium w-album


This butterfly gets its name from the letter "W" that is formed from a series of white lines found on the underside of the hindwings.

Identification difficulty

Around the tops of Elm trees.

When to see it

Late June to mid August.

Life History

Elm is the sole foodplant especially Wych Elm. This species suffered as a result of Dutch Elm disease in the 1970s and early 1980s, especially in southern sites. It forms discrete colonies which are sometimes very small containing only a few dozen individuals. Colonies are typically focused on a small clump of trees or even an individual tree. These butterflies are not great wanderers and will reuse the same site year after year.

UK Status

Small colonies found throughout England, as far north as Lancashire and County Durham. It is found more locally in Wales. This species is not present in Scotland or Ireland.

VC55 Status

Widespread and fairly common, but under-recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

61.006 BF1558

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map