Belongs to: brown butterflies

Compare with: gatekeeper

Meadow brown Maniola jurtina


Best time to see: Jul to end Aug

Key facts

Britain's commonest large brown butterfly

Habitat: almost anywhere where wild grasses thrive

Common across the whole of lowland Britain, but less usual in town than in countryside

Recognition

Dusky brown upperwings with a dull orange patch and a black eye with a single pupil; lower hindwing grey-brown

Often sits with wings closed; weak, fluttering flight just above the flower heads

Prefers a tall sward of species such as Smooth Meadow Grass

Lifecycle

Pale, almost spherical eggs laid singly on grass or other vegetation in summer

Bright green, white-haired caterpillars feed on grasses at night, hibernating when small

Pupates in late spring, the adults emerging from mid-June onwards

  • Main photo
  • underside
  • female

Photo © Ken Wooldridge

Photo © Leslie Borg

Photo © Tony Gunton