The Black Hairstreak is one of our rarest butterflies and one of the most recently discovered, due to the similarity with its close cousin, the White-letter Hairstreak. This species was first discovered in the British Isles in 1828 when a Mr Seaman, an entomological dealer, collected specimens from one of the most famous sites for this species – Monk’s Wood in Cambridgeshire. These were thought to be specimens of the White-letter Hairstreak until Edward Newman, a Victorian entomologist of note, declared them to be Black Hairstreak.
This butterfly is not a great wanderer and an entire colony will often confine itself to a single area within a wood, despite there being suitable habitat nearby. The inability to colonise new areas at a pace in balance with habitat loss may partially explain the scarcity of this species. This butterfly has a very restricted distribution that follows a line of clays between Oxfordshire in the south-west and Cambridgeshire in the north-east.
Both Black Hairstreak and White-letter Hairstreak are very local species, but do fly together on rare occasions. There are two features that distinguish these species. The first is that the Black Hairstreak has a row of distinctive black dots running along the inside of the orange band on the underside of the hindwing, that is absent in the White-letter Hairstreak. The second is that the White-letter Hairstreak has a more pronounced white line on its hindwing, forming a letter "W" from which the White-letter Hairstreak gets its name. This line is less prominent in the Black Hairstreak.
This cache is a clip lock box. There is a certificate for the First To Find. Please feel free to swap any item in the ‘cache but please remember, if you take something, leave something of equal or greater value in return.
Renumbered from 12 to 3 to create a more logical series around the forest
First To Find honours go to: Mackiespal
N.B. All the caches in this series have been granted permission to be placed by Joanne Mason, the Beat Manager for the forest, and written permission has been passed to the Reviewers. The Forestry Commission will not give permission for any more caches in these woods. Please do not ask the Reviewers to place any further caches as the FC will not allow it and placement of further caches will result in geocaching being banned in this area.