Rarely-seen butterfly spotted in Sheffield

A colourful butterfly rarely seen in South Yorkshire has been spotted in Sheffield.

Purple hairstreak butterfly
Philip Precey

Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust say sightings of the purple hairstreak butterfly - which is more generally found in southern England- have been reported across the city and experts believe the species is experiencing a population increase due to the warm spring weather.

Unlike most butterflies, the Purple Hairstreak does not feed on flowers but gets its nourishment feeding on sticky honeydew on oak tree leaves.

Ben Keywood from SRWT said: "It's fairly common in the south of England and in Nottinghamshire where it loves the oak trees of Sherwood Forest,.

"But Sheffield has very few records. This year could be the only opportunity to spot it here and there’s only a two-week window - next year the weather might be different and the population will return to normal.”

Purple hairstreak butterfly
Philip Precey
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