Hairstreak butterfly survey
The rangers doing a brown hairstreak butterfly survey today. It’s easier to search for the tiny white eggs of this elusive butterfly in winter than it is to see the adults in summer.
Butterfly Conservation ran a training course at Killerton in partnership with Devon Wildlife Trust as part of the Saving Devon’s Treescapes project.
Brown hairstreak caterpillars feed on blackthorn shrubs and the adults use the top of Ash trees to attract mates and feed on aphid honeydew.
As most blackthorn hedges are flailed every year and ash dieback threatens to wipe out most of our ash trees, Brown hairstreaks are becoming more rare. They’re a Biodiversity Action Plan species and thankfully there’s a healthy population in the wood pasture at Killerton. The team found 6 eggs in a short session this morning, they are tiny and difficult to spot, but under a hand lense they are very intricate and look like little wedding cakes.