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Butterfly taxonomy (classification) The skippers The swallowtails The whites The hairstreaks, coppers and blues. Includes the Duke of Burgundy. The nymphalids, fritillaries and browns. Includes the Monarch.
Subfamily: Theclinae

Family:Lycaenidae (Leach, 1815)
Subfamily:Theclinae (Butler, 1869)
Type Genus:Thecla (Fabricius, 1807)
  Description  
Family: Lycaenidae

The Lycaenidae is a family comprising several thousand species, the majority of which are small in size and with a rapid flight. Many are brilliantly coloured, and this is often the result of interference effects caused by the microstructure of the wings.

Eyes may be smooth or hairy, often with a border of dense white scales. Labial palps usually protrude forward, or are slightly ascending. Antennae are half the length of the forewing or slightly shorter, with a variable but usually long club. All legs are fully functional in both sexes, although the forelegs of the male are less well developed, and smaller, than in the female. All legs have a pair of claws, with the exception of the male foreleg which has a single claw. In some genera there are spines on the tibia.

The number of veins on the forewing is generally reduced to 11 or even 10 with vein 8 and possibly vein 9 absent. The cell is narrow when compared with other families. The undersides of the wings typically differ greatly from the uppersides, often consisting of a pattern of spots. Sexual dimorphism is usually well-defined. In some genera there is a short tail at vein 2 of the hindwing. Androconial scales are usually present on upper side of male forewing.

Highslide JS
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
Adapted from an original drawing by and © Timothy Freed
Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 7, Issue 1 (Emmet & Heath, 1989)

Eggs are disc-shaped and covered in a network of ribs and hollows. The larva is shaped like a woodlouse and is covered in short hair. It has a retractable neck that, in some species, is pushed forward as the larva scoops out the content of a seed pod or leaf on which it is feeding. In early instars the larva may enter a seed pod or leaf to feed. Pupae are stout and may be attached to the foodplant or other vegetation by a rudimentary silken girdle and the cremaster, but may equally be found lying free among vegetation or on, or below, the ground.

This family has developed a close associated with ants. In many species the larva has a specialised “honey gland”, known as the Newcomer's gland, on the 7th abdominal segment, that is usually developed in the 2nd instar. This gland exudes a sweet cocktail of amino acids that is attractive to ants, which, in turn, offer the larva a level of protection. Ants can also be found tending to pupae and accompaning adults during their emergence. The association is most specialised in the Large Blue (Maculinea arion) where the late-instar larvae feed on ant grubs, and the pupa is formed within the ant nest.

Highslide JSHighslide JS
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Larva with ant in attendance
Photo © Pete Eeles
Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus)
Newly-emerged adult
Photo © Iain Leach
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Large Blue (Maculinea arion)
Larva being "milked"
Photo © Marcin Sielezniew

Large Blue (Maculinea arion)
Pupae in ant nest
Photo © Marcin Sielezniew

Subfamily: Theclinae

Description to be completed.

  Tribes  

This subfamily is represented by the following tribes:

  Genera  

This subfamily is represented by the following genera:

  Species  

This subfamily is represented by the species shown below.

Brown Hairstreak (Thecla betulae)


Male Brown Hairstreak, Shipton Bellinger, 06/08/2013
Brown Hairstreak
Thecla betulae
Male
Photo © Pauline
Brown Hairstreak - Male - Shipton Bellinger - 09.08.13
Brown Hairstreak
Thecla betulae
Male Underside
Photo © PhiliB
Brown Hairstreak - Knepp Estate, Sussex 8-Aug-2013
Brown Hairstreak
Thecla betulae
Female
Photo © Neil Hulme
Brown Hairstreak female - Knepp Estate, Sussex 3-Aug-2013
Brown Hairstreak
Thecla betulae
Female Underside
Photo © Neil Hulme
Brown Hairstreak egg [Gillian Thompson]
Brown Hairstreak
Thecla betulae
Ovum
Photo © Gillian Thompson
Brown Hairstreak - larva - Thatcham - 10-Jun-06 (0249) [REARED]
Brown Hairstreak
Thecla betulae
Larva
Photo © Pete Eeles
Brown Hairstreak Pupa (Reared) Caterham, Surrey 15-June-11
Brown Hairstreak
Thecla betulae
Pupa
Photo © Vince Massimo

Purple Hairstreak (Favonius quercus)


Purple Hairstreak - imago - Thatcham - 14-Jun-07 (1) {REARED}
Purple Hairstreak
Favonius quercus
Male
Photo © Pete Eeles
Purple Hairstreak Male - Botany Bay/Oaken Wood, Sussex 28-June-09
Purple Hairstreak
Favonius quercus
Male Underside
Photo © Vince Massimo
Purple Hairstreak female - Broxbourne Wood, Hertfordshire, 30 June 2011
Purple Hairstreak
Favonius quercus
Female
Photo © Pawpawsaurus
Purple Hairstreak female - Broxbourne Wood, Hertfordshire, 30 June 2011
Purple Hairstreak
Favonius quercus
Female Underside
Photo © Pawpawsaurus
Purple Hairstreak ovum - Stafford Castle 15-Nov-2011
Purple Hairstreak
Favonius quercus
Ovum
Photo © Tony Moore
Purple Hairstreak - larva - Thatcham - 28-Apr-07 (1) {REARED}
Purple Hairstreak
Favonius quercus
Larva
Photo © Pete Eeles
Purple Hairstreak pupa (reared) Henfield, Sussex 1-June-12 [Richard Roebuck]
Purple Hairstreak
Favonius quercus
Pupa
Photo © Richard Roebuck

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)


Gray Hairstreak
Strymon melinus
Male
Gray Hairstreak male - Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, USA 19-June-2010 [Jeff Trahan]
Gray Hairstreak
Strymon melinus
Male Underside
Photo © Jeff Trahan
Gray Hairstreak female (ssp franki) - Douglas County, Colorado, USA 27-Aug-2011 [Andrew D.Warren]
Gray Hairstreak
Strymon melinus
Female
Photo © Andrew D.Warren
Gray Hairstreak fem (ssp franki) ovipositing on Eriogonum effusum - Douglas County, Colorado, USA 27-Aug-2011 [Andrew D. Warren]
Gray Hairstreak
Strymon melinus
Female Underside
Photo © Andrew D. Warren
Gray Hairstreak
Strymon melinus
Ovum
Gray Hairstreak
Strymon melinus
Larva
Gray Hairstreak
Strymon melinus
Pupa

Slate Flash (Rapala manea)


Slate Flash
Rapala manea
Male
Slate Flash - Omkar Hills, Bangalore, India 17-Sept-2006 [Goutham Ramesh]
Slate Flash
Rapala manea
Male Underside
Photo © Goutham Ramesh
Slate Flash
Rapala manea
Female
Slate Flash
Rapala manea
Female Underside
Slate Flash
Rapala manea
Ovum
Slate Flash
Rapala manea
Larva
Slate Flash
Rapala manea
Pupa

Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi)


Green Hairstreak
Callophrys rubi
Male
Green Hairstreak Male - Coulsdon, Surrey 19-April-10
Green Hairstreak
Callophrys rubi
Male Underside
Photo © Vince Massimo
female in flight - Ashley Heath, Dorset
Green Hairstreak
Callophrys rubi
Female
Photo © ronniethepoo
Green Hairstreak Female - Woldingham, Surrey 25-May-10
Green Hairstreak
Callophrys rubi
Female Underside
Photo © Vince Massimo
Green Hairstreak - ovum - Greenham Common - 11-May-14-6
Green Hairstreak
Callophrys rubi
Ovum
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green Hairstreak - larva (4th instar) - Thatcham - 06-Jun-14 [REARED]-6
Green Hairstreak
Callophrys rubi
Larva
Photo © Pete Eeles
Green Hairstreak - pupa - Thatcham - 21-Oct-08 (1) {REARED}
Green Hairstreak
Callophrys rubi
Pupa
Photo © Pete Eeles

White-letter Hairstreak (Satyrium w-album)


White-letter Hairstreak
Satyrium w-album
Male
White-letter-Hairstreak-Fermyn 24 June 2011 03C2316
White-letter Hairstreak
Satyrium w-album
Male Underside
Photo © IainLeach
White-letter Hairstreak
Satyrium w-album
Female
White letter hairstreak, female, July, Hants
White-letter Hairstreak
Satyrium w-album
Female Underside
Photo © Pauline
WLH ovum
White-letter Hairstreak
Satyrium w-album
Ovum
Photo © Tony Moore
White-letter Hairstreak - larva - Thatcham - 04-May-10 (2) {REARED}
White-letter Hairstreak
Satyrium w-album
Larva
Photo © Pete Eeles
White-letter Hairstreak - pupa - Thatcham - 16-May-10 (1) {REARED}
White-letter Hairstreak
Satyrium w-album
Pupa
Photo © Pete Eeles

Black Hairstreak (Satyrium pruni)


Black Hairstreak
Satyrium pruni
Male
Black Hairstreak - imago - Thatcham - 24-Jun-13 (2) [REARED]
Black Hairstreak
Satyrium pruni
Male Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles
Black Hairstreak
Satyrium pruni
Female
Black Hairstreak - imago - Thatcham - 24-Jun-13 (7) [REARED]
Black Hairstreak
Satyrium pruni
Female Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles
Black Hairstreak - ovum - Thatcham - 10-Mar-13 (2) [REARED]
Black Hairstreak
Satyrium pruni
Ovum
Photo © Pete Eeles
Black Hairstreak - larva - Thatcham - 20-May-10 (3) {REARED}
Black Hairstreak
Satyrium pruni
Larva
Photo © Pete Eeles
Black Hairstreak - pupa - Thatcham - 21-Jun-13 (5) [REARED]
Black Hairstreak
Satyrium pruni
Pupa
Photo © Pete Eeles

Ilex Hairstreak (Satyrium ilicis)


Ilex Hairstreak
Satyrium ilicis
Male
Ilex Hairstreak - Switzerland May 2011
Ilex Hairstreak
Satyrium ilicis
Male Underside
Photo © Padfield
Ilex Hairstreak
Satyrium ilicis
Female
Ilex Hairstreak (poss female) - Var, France 13-June-2010
Ilex Hairstreak
Satyrium ilicis
Female Underside
Photo © Roger Gibbons
Ilex Hairstreak
Satyrium ilicis
Ovum
Ilex Hairstreak
Satyrium ilicis
Larva
Ilex Hairstreak
Satyrium ilicis
Pupa

Blue Spot Hairstreak (Satyrium spini)


Blue Spot Hairstreak
Satyrium spini
Male
Blue-spot Hairstreak - male - Nr Santa Engracia, Spain - 19-Jun-10 (1)
Blue Spot Hairstreak
Satyrium spini
Male Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles
Blue Spot Hairstreak
Satyrium spini
Female
Blue-spot Hairstreak female - Var, France 23-May-2008
Blue Spot Hairstreak
Satyrium spini
Female Underside
Photo © Roger Gibbons
Blue Spot Hairstreak
Satyrium spini
Ovum
Blue Spot Hairstreak
Satyrium spini
Larva
Blue Spot Hairstreak
Satyrium spini
Pupa


  Copyright © Peter Eeles 2002-2014
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