Meadow Brown

Maniola jurtina (man-ee-OH-luh jur-TY-nuh)

Meadow Brown female - Cissbury Ring, Sussex 1-Aug-2014
Photo © Neil Hulme
 

Wingspan
Male: 40 - 55mm
Female: 42 - 60mm

Checklist Number
59.010

Family:NymphalidaeRafinesque, 1815
Subfamily:SatyrinaeBoisduval, 1833
Tribe:ManioliniGrote, 1897
Genus:ManiolaSchrank, 1801
Subgenus:  
Species:jurtina(Linnaeus, 1758)
Subspecies:splendida White, 1871
 cassiteridum Graves, 1930
 iernes Graves, 1930
 insularis Thomson, 1969

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Introduction

The Meadow Brown is one of our commonest and most widespread butterflies, and a familiar sight throughout the summer months. This species can be found in all parts of the British Isles, with the exception of the most mountainous regions and Shetland. This is a highly variable species with four named subspecies found in the British Isles, although the differences between them are often subtle.

Maniola jurtina ssp. jurtina

The species was first defined in Linnaeus (1758) as shown here (type locality: Europe, Africa). The nominate subspecies has not been recorded in the British Isles.

Maniola jurtina ssp. splendida

This subspecies was first defined in White (1871) as shown here (type locality: Longa Island, Ross-Shire, Scotland).

This subspecies is found in Scotland north west of a line between the Clyde Isles in the south west and Orkney in the north east. According to Chalmers-Hunt (1970) it is also found on the Isle of Man. The minimal description provided in White (1871) is elaborated in Graves (1930a) whose re-description is subsequently questioned in Thomson (1969) and Thomson (1970a). Thomson (1970a) provides the most recent analysis of this subspecies, suggesting that there is significant variation between the various populations of splendida and that the characteristics described by Graves do not always apply. Thomson (1970a) considers the following features to be those that distinguish splendida from insularis. Key distinguishing feature(s), taken from Dennis (1977), are highlighted.

  • 1. Male forewing upperside. Fulvous areas more extensive on average than in insularis of south Britain.
  • 2. Male underside. Darker than insularis and often suffused by dark scaling, but a form also occurs which displays a fair degree of contrast in the markings.
  • 3. Male forewing underside. Outer margins, termen and medial transverse band (dividing the lighter sub-apical and basal areas) considerably darker than the southern form.
  • 4. Female upperside. Fulvous areas extensive but very variable in extent, colour and form.
  • 5. Female hindwing underside. Very variable nearly always with the medial line distally bordered with a streak of bright yellow or orange.

Maniola jurtina ssp. splendida (White, 1871)

Larger and brighter coloured; the apical spot of the front wing with two white dots. Found by Mr. A. Davidson in the island of Longa, on the west coast of Ross-shire. Mr. Davidson informs me that it is very plentiful in the island, and that it is the only form occurring there. Occasionally in Aberdeenshire (J. W. H. Traill). I have taken this variety in the island of Capri near Naples.

Thomson (1970a) Redefinition

The only consistent traits which can be given to identify splendida forms are:

Male. Fulvous on the upperside of the forewings more extensive on average than in insularis of south Britain. Underside darker than insularis often suffused by dark scaling, but a form also occurs which displays a fair degree of contrast in markings. Both these forms, however, almost always have the colour of the underside forewings outer margins, termen and medial transverse band (dividing the lighter sub-apical and basal areas) considerably darker than in the southern form.

Female. Fulvous areas extensive but very variable in extent, colour and form. Underside hindwings very variable nearly always with the medial line distally bordered with a streak of bright yellow or orange. These are the only consistent characters and could be applied to south European forms, hispulla, miscens) but the ground colour of British jurtina females is considerably darker in tone as is the colour of the fulvous on average.

To summarise, therefore :

  • 1. Splendida is not a simple race but a heterogeneous collection of local populations each having been isolated long enough to produce measurably distinct characteristics but all being linked by characters typical of the whole.
  • 2. Splendida is linked to the southern race insularis by an area of transition in which both intermediates and individuals of the two races are found flying together in greater or lesser proportions.
  • 3. Splendida is probably not a direct result of environmental conditions only but probably has arisen as a result of selection within the strictly isolated populations.
Meadow Brown ssp. splendida - male - Ardnamurchan Point, Scotland - 17-Jul-14-2

Male
Photo © Pete Eeles

Male Underside

Meadow Brown ssp. splendida - female - Ardnamurchan Point, Scotland - 17-Jul-14-5

Female
Photo © Pete Eeles

Meadow Brown - imago - Ardnamurchan - Unknown date [Adrian Riley]

Female Underside
Photo © Adrian Riley

Photo Album ...


Maniola jurtina ssp. cassiteridum

This subspecies was first defined in Graves (1930a) (type locality: Isles of Scilly, England).

This subspecies is found in the Isles of Scilly, off the coast of West Cornwall. This subspecies differs from the subspecies insularis as follows. This summary has been derived from Thomson (1969) and the key distinguishing feature(s), taken from Dennis (1977), highlighted:

  • 1. Male forewing upperside has a well-defined orange band in which the eye spot sometimes has two pupils, or there are two separate eye spots.
  • 2. Male forewing underside more unicolorous orange, but with inner and outer areas separated with a distinct line.
  • 3. Male hindwing underside with a more pronounced medial band, but less so than ssp. iernes. Prominent flecks across the wing and with well-developed eye spots that are often ringed with orange and with white pupils.
  • 4. Female forewing upperside with the orange band extending into the central part of the wing.
  • 5. Female forewing underside has more contrast between the darker inner and lighter outer orange areas, which are separated by a brown line.
  • 6. Female hindwing underside heavily flecked with dark brown and is more variegated than any other subspecies, with a greyish buff rather than a yellowish or orange wash. The medial band is often very light in colour and has an irregular outer edge.

Maniola jurtina ssp. cassiteridum (Graves, 1930)

Male: Average expanse 49.22 mm. in the short series measured. Certainly smaller than iernes.

Upperside as in iernes.

Underside. Fore wings of a more uniform ground-colour than iernes with less heavily marked transverse bands, the apical area and termen more heavily striated. Hind wings of various shades of olive with more numerous and heavy striae than in iernes, the medial line less strongly marked than in Irish, but more so than in English or Swedish specimens. The distal portion of the wing sometimes showing traces of a paler band as in the female. Ocelli in interspaces 2 and 5, but sometimes more numerous. Those in 2 and 5, though small, are much more conspicuous than is the case with normal Swedish and English jurtina, being ringed with bright yellow and strongly-pupilled with white.

Female: Average expanse of 23 specimens measured 53.15 mm.

Upperside as in iernes, but the hispulla-like bands of the hind wings when present are clearer and better defined than in Irish specimens.

Underside. Fore wing with less pronounced transverse bands and less dark scaling mixed with the ground-colour, and on the termen near the tornus and in the inner marginal area, than in ssp. iernes. The "light brownish olive" (pl. xxx) or "ecru-olive" of the apical area and termen marked with numerous striae. Hind wing usually lighter and more variegated than in ssp. iernes with a buff rather than an orange or orange-yellow wash, the medial line less pronounced than in ssp. iernes, but more so than in nomino-typical and normal English jurtina, the band wide, pale, often "chamois" or "cream buff" (loc. cit.), frequently invading the darker submarginal area irregularly. The whole wing marked with very numerous coarse dark striae of large size, and having in consequence of this and of the ground-colour a "grained" and mottled appearance that is very characteristic.

Locality: The Scilly Isles. Occasional individuals with numerous transitional specimens (ssp. cassiteridum trans ad. jurtina) and normal jurtina occur together in West Cornwall, e. g. at Mullion, Lizard Pen.

Types: Male and allotype female in the British Museum. Paratypes of both sexes in British, Oxford (Hope Coll.) and Tring Museums.

The smaller size, remarkable underside (with its heavy striation in both sexes) and the distinct ocelli on the underside of the hind wing in the male distinguish this subspecies from iernes. In Mr. B.W. Adkin's series there are only three female specimens in which there is no fulvous in the post-discal band of the upperside of the hind wing, but he assures me that these are frequent enough. There is a male ab. feminea in the British Museum, and Mr. Adkin has a male from the Scilly Isles with a patch of fulvous in the post-discal band of each hind wing.

Male

Male Underside

Female

Meadow Brown - imago - St Marys, Isles of Scilly - Unknown date [Adrian Riley]

Female Underside
Photo © Adrian Riley

Photo Album ...


Maniola jurtina ssp. iernes

This subspecies was first defined in Graves (1930a) (type locality: County Kerry, Ireland).

This subspecies represents the population found in Ireland. This is the largest of the subspecies found in the British Isles and differs from the subspecies insularis as follows. This summary has been derived from Thomson (1969) and the key distinguishing feature(s), taken from Dennis (1977), highlighted:

  • 1. Male forewing upperside has a well-defined orange band in which the eye spot sometimes has two pupils, or there are two separate eye spots.
  • 2. Male forewing underside with an orange area that is divided into a lighter outer part and darker inner part, separated by a well-marked dark line.
  • 3. Male and female hindwing underside with a contrasting medial band, and with tiny or absent spots.
  • 4. Female forewing upperside with the orange band extending into the central part of the wing.
  • 5. Female hindwing upperside usually with an orange patch.

Maniola jurtina ssp. iernes (Graves, 1930)

Male: Average expanse 51.9 mm.; largest 57.5 mm., smallest 46 mm.

Upperside. Ground-colour "mummy brown" to "sepia", with blue-green iridescence along the costal margin and traces of violet iridescence on the hind wings. Ocelli frequently bipupilled or doubled, set in well-marked fulvous rings. A fairly well-defined and usually regular submarginal band of "orange" or "ochraceous-orange" scaling in interspaces 4, 3, 2 and at times in 1b, broken by the dark venation in all cases, and in approximately half those examined partially veiled with dark scaling (cf. ♂♂ of ssp. hispulla).

Underside. Discal area of fore wings "ochraceous buff" to "ochraceous orange" with a mixture, less noticeable than in ssp. splendida, of dark scales. Apical area and termen of the same ground-colour as the hind wing, the basal edge of the termen darkened in 2 and 3. Transverse line often more strongly marked than in English and Swedish jurtina. Hind wings with the lighter band and dark medial line more strongly marked than in average English and Swedish and North German jurtina, so that the underside somewhat resembles that of ♀♀ of the typical subspecies. Ground-colour of various shades of olive grey, ranging from "citrine-drab" to "greyish-olive" in the basal portion and from "light greyish olive" to "deep olive buff" on the band. Submarginal ocelli minute or absent. The whole wing powdered, sometimes greatly darkened, with small blackish striae.

Female: Average expanse 55.6 mm.; largest 62 mm., smallest 50 mm.

Upperside. Ground-colour "mummy brown" to "sepia." Band of fore wings broad, well defined, the transverse dark border being particularly well marked, "orange", less frequently "ochraceous orange," broken by the dark venation. Discoidal area sometimes with, sometimes without "orange" or "ochraceous orange" scaling, which scarcely ever breaks through the transverse line bordering the band basally, as it does in ssp. splendida and in some English jurtina. Hind wing unicolorous or with an "ochraceous orange" point; an orange band or beginning of a band more or less suffused by dark scaling, occupying two or more than two interspaces in more than half the specimens examined. Subapical ocelli usually very large and often bipupilled.

Underside. Discal area of fore wings usually approximating to "Mars yellow" in its darker basal portion, outwardly nearer "raw sienna," though the uneven mixture of dark scaling generally and of pale scaling near the apex makes it difficult to describe the colour accurately. Costa and broad termen of the same ground-colour as the hind wings, save near the tornus, where it is "raw umber" or "Brussels brown" mixed with black scales. The inner marginal area mostly black. The transverse line usually very strongly marked. Hind wings washed with "orange" or "ochraceous" orange, giving a very bright effect. The darker area basewards of the medial line "buckthorn brown" to "old gold", the medial line varying from "hazel" to "burnt sienna", the discal band broad, near "old gold." Submarginal area of the same general colour as the basal area. The whole wing fairly uniformly marked with blackish striae.

Locality: Described from a long series in my collection from Kerry, Irish Free State, mostly taken in the baronies of South Dunkerron, Magunihy and Iveragh. The jurtina of Sligo and S. Mayo (Connaught), Cork and Waterford (Munster), and Donegal, Derry, Tyrone and Monaghan (Ulster) certainly correspond in essentials of facies with the Kerry jurtina iernes.

Type: ♂ in my collection, allotype ♀ in my collection. Paratypes in my collection and in B.M. Collection. The description is based upon the examination of 115 ♂♂ and 141 ♀♀ from Kerry, taken in July and August, 1928 and 1929.

... To sum up, iernes differs from Swedish and English jurtina in its larger size and brighter and more variegated underside, in the gynaikotropism of the ♂, and the frequent exhibition of hispulla-like characteristics in the ♀. Among these characteristics I am disposed to reckon the more frequent bipupillation of the apical ocellus and the more frequent extension of that ocellus to vein 4. The fore wings also appear to me to be less acuminate than in typical jurtina, and the hind wings more deeply scalloped.

Meadow Brown - male - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13

Male
Photo © Pete Eeles

Meadow Brown - male - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13-34

Male Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles

Meadow Brown - female - North Bull Island, Dublin - 09-Aug-13-24

Female
Photo © Pete Eeles

Meadow Brown - female - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13-28

Female Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles

Photo Album ...


Maniola jurtina ssp. insularis

This subspecies was first defined in Thomson (1969) as shown here and as shown in this plate (type locality: Isle of Wight, England).

This subspecies is found throughout England, Wales and Scotland south east of a line between Ayrshire in the south west and Moray in the north east.

Maniola jurtina ssp. insularis (Thomson, 1969)

Male: Upperside, mummy brown to sepia sometimes reaching an Erebia-like colouring when freshly emerged. In such cases the androconial brand is wholly or partly obscured. Over all of the wings is an iridescence (sometimes bluish, sometimes greenish) which is more pronounced than in Scandinavia or Central European forms, but somewhat less than in splendida. This iridescence is most strongly developed on the costal margin, on the androconial brand and on the basal area of the hindwings. The apical eyespot is well developed, usually with a very white pupil, larger than in typical jurtina - not often bipupilled, and hardly ever not pupilled - set in a well marked ring of bright fulvous. The sub-marginal band is usually quite well formed, but less so than in iernes.

Underside. Forewing basal half almost always of a darker colour than the sub-apical band (in 98.96% of specimens examined), often taking on a dark rust or raw sienna tone, and in 93.27% of specimens the two shades were further divided by a well-marked line of darker colouring than either of the two parts. Only 6.73% of Swedish males had this line. The hindwings are very variable but the light medial band is less well marked than in iernes. However, this is frequently well defined and the darker areas sometimes take on a reddish shade. Spots on the band vary from 0-6, usually two.

Female: Upperside. Ground colour mummy brown to sepia - hardly ever blackish. The fulvous below the apical eyespot (which is not infrequently bipupilled) is very variable in size but is usually fairly extensive, sometimes broken by the nervures, and often appearing on the hindwings. In this respect insularis is less bright than the other British races. The fulvous on the forewing often invades the central area, usually separated by scales of the ground colour as in iernes, but sometimes without such separation, as in splendida. The fulvous is of a darker (more red) colour than Swedish jurtina or French phormia occasionally reaching a colour similar to that of typical splendida.

Underside. Discal area of a darker colour than the sub-marginal band - often strikingly so, and with a dividing transverse line of a much darker colour than either, approximately similar to that of the upperside ground colour. The hindwings have a well marked band, somewhat yellowish usually but can tend towards greyish as in hispulla. The general appearance of the underside is of contrast to a degree rarely found in Swedish jurtina. A long series looks quite different from the typical sub-species.

insularis thus belongs to the same group of sub-species as cassiteridum, iernes and (perhaps) splendida which are characterised by the high degree of contrast reached on the underside of the forewings and, to a lesser extent, on the hindwings, also by the strongly developed transverse line on both sexes. It differs from cassiteridum in the lack of strong hispulla-form characters in the apical eyespot and the underside hindwing of the female, from iernes in its smaller size, less gynaikoptropic form of the male and more variable nature of the fulvous markings and from splendida in the less dark underside forewing of the male and the more yellow hindwing of the female. A feature of insularis is its heterogeneous nature, which ranges from close to (but distinct from) jurtina in Hertfordshire and some of the Midland counties, to an approach to cassiteridum in west Cornwall, splendida in central and north-west Scotland and iernes in any but mainly maritime localities throughout its range. It is one of the most variable races of jurtina (similar in this respect to phormia, to which it might be closely related) with the forms addenda Mousley, erymanthoides Strand, fracta Zweigelt and antiparvipuncta Leeds being not uncommon. Among the rarer forms which I have taken is anommata Vrty.

Size: Average expanse - ♂♂ 48.00 mm. ♀♀ 53.00 mm., not as variable as typical jurtina or phormia.

Locality: Described from 230 ♂♂ and 280 ♀♀ from England, Wales, South Scotland and Central Scotland (mainly from Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey, Cornwall, Dorset, North Wales, Berwickshire and Stirlingshire). Individual specimens from Hertfordshire and the south Midlands are hard to distinguish from Swedish jurtina except by its larger size, but these are not common.

Types: ♂ Isle of Wight. ♀ allotype Isle of Wight together with paratypes in my own collection.

Meadow Brown male - Solihull West Midlands 27.07.2014

Male
Photo © Neil Freeman

Meadow Brown Male - Crawley, Sussex 11-June-07

Male Underside
Photo © Vince Massimo

Female Meadow Brown - Fleam Dyke, Cambs 15-7-12

Female
Photo © dilettante

Meadow Brown Female - Crawley, Sussex 28-June-05

Female Underside
Photo © Vince Massimo

Photo Album ...


History

The table below shows a chronology of vernacular names attributed to this species. Any qualification of the name (e.g. male, female) is shown in brackets after the name.

YearNameReference
1699Brown Meadow Ey'd Butterfly (male)Petiver (1695-1703)
1699Golden Meadow Ey'd Butterfly (female)Petiver (1695-1703)
1717Brown Meadow-Eye (male)Petiver (1717)
1717Golden Meadow-Eye (female)Petiver (1717)
1720Meadow Brown ButterflyAlbin (1720)
1795Meadow Brown ArgusLewin (1795)
1853Large Meadow BrownMorris (1853)

Conservation Status

This butterfly is stable throughout its range and it is not, therefore, a species of conservation concern.

UK BAP StatusOccurrence Change
1976-2014 (%)
Abundance Change
1976-2014 (%)
Occurrence Change
2005-2014 (%)
Abundance Change
2005-2014 (%)
Not Listed
Stable-3
Stable+1
Stable-2
Decrease-15

The table above shows the occurrence (distribution) and abundance (population) trends, using information from The State of the UK's Butterflies 2015 (Fox, 2015). Any UK BAP status is taken from the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) (2007 review).

Habitat

The butterfly can be found in almost any grassy habitat, especially grasslands where the sward is of a medium height, where populations can reach thousands. Even in heavily-grazed meadows, the butterfly can usually be found around the field margins. Typical habitats include grassland, woodland rides, field margins, hedgerows, road verges and even overgrown gardens.

Distribution

 

Click here to see the distribution of this species or here to see the distribution of this species together with specific site information overlaid.

Life Cycle

There is one generation each year and the flight period can be quite protracted, with adults being seen from the middle of June to the end of September in most years.

Maniola jurtina ssp. splendida

Maniola jurtina ssp. cassiteridum

Maniola jurtina ssp. iernes

Maniola jurtina ssp. insularis

The chart(s) above have been correlated with the phenology plot below, taken from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. The blue line gives average counts over the full data set from 1976 to date, and the red line gives the average for the last year.

Imago

The male is the most active of the two sexes and finds a mate either by patrolling, or by investigating any butterfly that flies past his perch. Females, on the other hand, are normally only active when nectaring or egg-laying and spend most of their time resting near the ground. Here they sit camouflaged, with wings closed and forewings tucked beneath the hindwings. When disturbed, they raise their forewings to reveal a large eye spot that must appear somewhat threatening to any predator.

Both sexes typically roost on low vegetation, within tall grass clumps, but may also use bushes, trees and hedges. Early morning is a good time to see this species, as it sits with its wings outstretched, warming up in the early morning sun. Once warmed up the adults take to the wing and will even fly in dull weather, including light drizzle, so long as the temperature is sufficiently high. Both sexes are avid nectar feeders, and use a variety of nectar sources, especially Knapweed, Thistle and Bramble.

Courtship between male and female is brief. The male showers the female with scent scales from his sex brands which act as an aphrodisiac that seduces the female and mating quickly follows. After a couple of days the female starts to lay her batch of several hundred eggs. For some unexplained reason, this species occasionally pairs with other species, such as the Gatekeeper, although no offspring result.

Adults feed primarily on Bramble (Rubus fruticosus), Buttercups (Ranunculus spp.), Carline Thistle (Carlina vulgaris), Devil's-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis), Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum), Knapweeds (Centaurea spp.), Marjoram (Origanum vulgare), Privet (Ligustrum vulgare), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris), Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum), Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).

Maniola jurtina ssp. splendida

Meadow Brown - imago - Ardnamurchan - Unknown date [Adrian Riley]

Photo © Adrian Riley

Meadow Brown ssp. splendida - female - Ardnamurchan Point, Scotland - 17-Jul-14-4

Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Jul-2014

Meadow Brown ssp. splendida - female - Ardnamurchan Point, Scotland - 17-Jul-14-5

Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Jul-2014

Meadow Brown ssp. splendida - female - Ardnamurchan Point, Scotland - 17-Jul-14-6

Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Jul-2014

Meadow Brown ssp. splendida - female - Ardnamurchan Point, Scotland - 17-Jul-14

Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Jul-2014

Meadow Brown ssp. splendida - male - Ardnamurchan Point, Scotland - 17-Jul-14-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Jul-2014

Meadow Brown ssp. splendida - male - Ardnamurchan Point, Scotland - 17-Jul-14

Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Jul-2014

Photo Album (7 photos) ...


Maniola jurtina ssp. cassiteridum

Meadow Brown - imago - St Marys, Isles of Scilly - Unknown date [Adrian Riley]

Photo © Adrian Riley

Photo Album (1 photos) ...


Maniola jurtina ssp. iernes

Meadow Brown - male - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13-27

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - female - Boston, Clare - 10-Aug-13

Photo © Pete Eeles
10-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - male - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13-34

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - male - North Bull Island, Dublin - 09-Aug-13-14

Photo © Pete Eeles
09-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - male - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13-33

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - imago - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - female - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13-28

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - male - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13-31

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - Male Underside 04/07/2008, Mountstewart, Co Down, Northern Ireland

Photo © Dave McCormick
04-Jul-2008

Meadow Brown - female - North Bull Island, Dublin - 09-Aug-13-23

Photo © Pete Eeles
09-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - Mating Pair  14/06/2007, Mountstewart, Co Down, Northern Ireland

Photo © Dave McCormick
14-Jun-2007

Meadow Brown - male - North Bull Island, Dublin - 09-Aug-13-16

Photo © Pete Eeles
09-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - male - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13-37

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - imago - Craggagh, Clare - Unknown date [Adrian Riley]

Photo © Adrian Riley

Meadow Brown - Female Upperside  09/07/2007, Mountstewart, Co Down, Northern Ireland

Photo © Dave McCormick
09-Jul-2007

Meadow Brown - Female Upperside 12/07/2009, Hogstown Bog, Co Down, Northern Ireland

Photo © Dave McCormick
12-Jul-2009

Meadow Brown - Co Down, Northern Ireland 18-Aug-2015

Photo © Aughie
17-Aug-2015

Meadow Brown - female - North Bull Island, Dublin - 09-Aug-13-22

Photo © Pete Eeles
09-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - female - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - male - Ballyteigue Burrow Nature Reserve, County Wexford, Ireland - 20-Aug-13

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Aug-2013

Photo Album (29 photos) ...


Maniola jurtina ssp. insularis

Female Meadow Brown - Straits Enclosure - 15 July 2012

Photo © Wurzel

Meadow Brown - Laverstock Down - 15-06-2015

Photo © Wurzel

Meadow Brown - Farley Mount - 13-7-08

Photo © Gwenhwyfar
13-Jul-2008

Meadow Brown, Liphook, 19/07/2013

Photo © Pauline
19-Jul-2013

Meadow Brown female - Snitterfield Bushes Warwickshire 10.07.16

Photo © Neil Freeman
10-Jul-2016

Meadow Brown female, Alun Valley, Glamorgan 16.07.13

Photo © David M
16-Jul-2013

Meadow Brown mating. 27/6/2014. Southwater Woods. West Sussex.

Photo © badgerbob
27-Jun-2014

Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper Mixed Pairing - West Somerset - 06/08/13

Photo © William
06-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown - Larkhill - 22-07-2014

Photo © Wurzel

Meadow Brown - July 21st 2012 - Aston Rowant

Photo © Nigel Kiteley
21-Jul-2012

Meadow Brown Female - Crawley, Sussex 28-June-05

Photo © Vince Massimo
28-Jun-2005

Meadow Brown Pair - Chaldon, Surrey 5-Sept-09

Photo © Vince Massimo
05-Sep-2009

Meadow Brown male - Southwater, Sussex 14-June-2011

Photo © Neil Hulme
14-Jun-2011

Mating Meadow Brown & Ringlet Smardale Gill 13.7.09 Sandra Standbridge

Photo © sandraandkevin
Mating with Ringlet

Meadow Brown, Southwater Wood meadows, Sussex 21-June-2012

Photo © Neil Hulme
21-Jun-2012

Meadow Brown (Male) Pairing with Small Tortoiseshell (female) - Collard Hill - Somerset - 23/06/14

Photo © William
23-Jun-2014

Meadow Brown male - Solihull West Midlands 27.07.2014

Photo © Neil Freeman
27-Jul-2014

Meadow Brown (f)  Stanwell Moor Middlesex 27th July 2013

Photo © millerd
27-Jul-2013

Meadow Brown - Shipton Bellinger - 7 Aug 2010

Photo © Clive
07-Aug-2010

Meadow Brown male upperside - Babbs Mill- 23/06/12

Photo © Gothic_dreams
23-Jun-2012

Photo Album (62 photos) ...


Ovum

The spherical eggs are light brown with dark brown blotches, turning grey before hatching. They are laid singly either on the foodplant or nearby vegetation and are occasionally simply ejected into vegetation by a perching female. A bout of egg laying often results in several eggs being laid in the same vicinity. Eggs hatch in 2 to 4 weeks, depending on temperature.

"Many ova were deposited between July 16th and 24th; these commenced hatching August 15th and continued hatching for some days; they remained in the egg state about thirty days. Ova deposited from July 18th to 25th, 1900, started hatching August 1st, remaining only fourteen days in the egg state. Ova laid from July 25th to 30th, 1892, commenced hatching August 15th, being about twenty-one days in the egg state. The eggs are laid singly on blades of grass, Poa annua and other species. The egg is very small in comparison to the size of the butterfly, measuring only 0.50 mm. high and about the same in width; both the summit and base are flat, the shape being a truncated cone; there are from twenty to twenty-four longitudinal keels, all originating from a ridge or rib encircling the micropyle, and passing over the flattened top (which has, in all, three ribs encircling it), they turn abruptly over the brim and descend the side to the base ; the keels are slight, but the intervening spaces are deeply concave, giving the egg a strongly fluted appearance; each furrow is delicately ribbed transversely by about twenty-four in number. The micropyle is covered with a finely reticulated network pattern, and the whole surface of the egg shows extremely minute granulations. The colour when first laid is a pale, clear primrose-yellow, slightly deepening when a few days old, and then showing faint mottlings, which gradually become more defined when a week old. When fifteen days old the colour is a clear ochreous-yellow with a greenish tinge, and beautifully but irregularly mottled and blotched with bright rust-red; no two specimens agree in the arrangement of the pattern. At eighteen days the mottlings are red-brown and the ground colour is deeper ochreous, and finally it turns to a smoky-pearl-grey. Eggs hatched August 15th, 1892." - Frohawk (1924)

Meadow Brown - ovum - Godrevy, Cornwall - 22-Jul-05 [Colin Baker]

Photo © Colin Baker

Meadow Brown - ovum - Unknown location - Unknown date (2) [REARED] [Reg Fry]

Photo © Reg Fry

Meadow Brown - ovum - Unknown location - Unknown date [REARED] [Reg Fry]

Photo © Reg Fry

Meadow Brown - larva - Thatcham - 08-Jul-11 (1)

Photo © Pete Eeles

Meadow Brown - ovum - Thatcham - 05-Jul-11 (1)

Photo © Pete Eeles

Meadow Brown ovum

Photo © Tony Moore
Egg found by watching ovipositing female
28-Jul-2013

Meadow Brown - ovum - Calstone and Cherhill Downs - 29-Aug-13

Photo © Pete Eeles
29-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown Ovum - Somerset - 08/08/13

Photo © William
18-Aug-2013

Meadow Brown ovum, Oxenbourne Down, 30/07/2015

Photo © Pauline
30-Jul-2015

Meadow Brown Ovum - Somerset - 19/07/15

Photo © William

Meadow Brown Ovum - Somerset - 23/07/15

Photo © William

Meadow Brown - ovum - Thatcham - 20-Jul-16 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles
20-Jul-2016

Meadow Brown - ovum - Thatcham - 15-Jul-16 [REARED]-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
15-Jul-2016

Meadow Brown - ovum - Thatcham - 15-Jul-16 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles
15-Jul-2016

Photo Album (14 photos) ...


Larva

After hatching, the brown larva eats its eggshell, gradually turning green as it feeds on grasses. This species overwinters as a larva, hidden away at the base of a grass clump, but will continue to feed if the weather is warm enough. Young larvae feed by day, although more mature larvae tend to feed at night resting head down on a grass stem during the day, deep in the vegetation. The larvae are sensitive to any vibration, and will fall to the ground if disturbed. There are 6 instars in total.

The primary larval foodplants are Bents (various) (Agrostis spp.), Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata), Downy Oat-grass (Helictotrichon pubescens), False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum), Fescues (various) (Festuca spp.) and Meadow-grasses (various) (Poa spp.).

Meadow Brown - larva - Stockbridge Down - 15-May-05

Photo © Pete Eeles
15-May-2005

Meadow Brown - larva - Unknown location - Unknown date (2) [REARED] [Ben Smart]

Photo © Ben Smart

Meadow Brown - larva - Unknown location - Unknown date (3) [REARED] [Reg Fry]

Photo © Reg Fry

Meadow Brown - larva - Unknown location - Unknown date [REARED] [Ben Smart]

Photo © Ben Smart

Meadow Brown larva. 6/5/2014. Seaford. E. Sussex.

Photo © badgerbob
06-May-2014

Meadow Brown larva. 6/5/2014. Seaford. E. Sussex.

Photo © badgerbob
06-May-2014

Meadow Brown larva - Rewell Wood, Sussex 26-April-2015

Photo © Colin Knight

Meadow Brown larva - Switzerland 6-May-2015

Photo © Padfield
06-May-2015

Meadow Brown larva - Switzerland 6-May-2015

Photo © Padfield
06-May-2015

Meadow Brown - Larva - Pamphill, Dorset - 27-05-2015

Photo © Coopera
27-May-2015

Meadow Brown - larva - Stockbridge Down - 12-May-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
12-May-2015

Photo Album (11 photos) ...


1st Instar

"The young larva emerges from the egg by eating its way out through the side, mostly near the crown, and as soon as it has made its escape it devours some portion of the shell, sometimes eating nearly the whole of it, only leaving the base. Directly after emergence the larva measures only 1.4 mm. long and is rather robust in proportion and gradually tapers to the posterior end; the segments are slightly wrinkled transversely, with a deep central incision, which gives each segment a divided appearance. There are six longitudinal rows of hairs, three on each side above the spiracle; the first dorsal row is composed of two hairs, one on each sub-division; the anterior one is twice the size of the other; both are glassy white, serrated along the front edge, with a dark, shining bulbous base, and both curve backwards. The third is situated above the spiracle on the anterior sub-division, of similar structure but almost straight and directed forwards and slightly upwards; close beside this hair is a dark marking. Below the rather pale spiracle are two more similar hairs; the anterior one is the smaller, slightly curved, and projects laterally, the other is straighter and directed backwards; they have dark bases and are situated on a large lateral lobe; and below on the basal swelling of the clasper is another pair of hairs directed in similar positions but of simple formation; also there is a smaller spine-like hair below. On the anal segment all the hairs are straighter and project backwards. The head is large and globular, of a pale ochreous-yellow, and bears about a dozen hairs, similar to those on the dorsal surface; the body is likewise pale ochreous and has a medio-dorsal longitudinal orange-tawny line, and three similar coloured lines along the side; these are sub-dorsal, super-spiracular and spiracular; the last two are broken up, being placed only on the posterior sub-division of each segment, and are irregular in pattern. After feeding it gradually assumes a green ground colour. Shortly before first moult it measures only 2.5 mm. long; the colour is a clear bright green; the orange side lines are now pale olive-brown and the base of the hairs is smoky-olive; there now appears a whitish lateral stripe." - Frohawk (1924)

Meadow Brown - larva - Unknown location - Unknown date (4) [REARED] [Reg Fry]

Photo © Reg Fry

Meadow Brown - larva (1st instar) - Thatcham - 17-Aug-16 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Aug-2016

Photo Album (2 photos) ...


2nd Instar

"The first moult occurred on August 29th, the first stage lasting fourteen days. Soon after the first moult the colouring is similar, excepting the head, which is green instead of ochreous. Before the second moult it measures when extended crawling 4.20 mm. long; both head and body of a clear green, inclining to bluish-green, the segment divisions clearly defined; a fine darker green medio-dorsal line runs the entire length, and a conspicuous, sharply defined white lateral line; the anal points are whitish; legs pale ochreous; claspers green; the mouth parts and eye spots dark reddish-brown and black; the head is shining. Both head and body are covered with pale, shining warts, each emitting a long curved blackish hair. It feeds freely on Poa annua and other allied grasses, chiefly at night, and is very sluggish in its movements, and if disturbed falls to the ground." - Frohawk (1924)

Meadow Brown - larva (2nd instar) - Thatcham - 30-Aug-16 [REARED]-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
30-Aug-2016

Meadow Brown - larva (2nd instar) - Thatcham - 30-Aug-16 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles
30-Aug-2016

Photo Album (2 photos) ...


3rd Instar

"The second moult September 15th, 1892. The colours are very similar to the previous stage, but lighter, and the spiracles are orange; the head is clear, brilliant green, the hairs of the body whitish. It does not eat its cast skin. Upon examining all the larvae on October 28th, 1892, the author found them in various stages: some after the first moult, some after the second moult and others after the third moult, but several of the latter had only recently moulted, as they were resting beside their sloughs. Before the third moult there is no appreciable difference in the colouring to the previous description. It measures 6.3 mm. in length." - Frohawk (1924)

Meadow Brown - larva (3rd instar) - Thatcham - 12-Sep-16 [REARED]-2

Photo © Pete Eeles
12-Sep-2016

Meadow Brown - larva (3rd instar) - Thatcham - 12-Sep-16 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles
12-Sep-2016

Meadow Brown - larva (3rd instar) - Thatcham - 17-Sep-16 [REARED]

Photo © Pete Eeles
17-Sep-2016

Photo Album (3 photos) ...


4th Instar

"Third moult October 25th, 1892. The general colouring is very similar to before moulting, being of a clear, light green; the head is particularly bright. The segments are transversely wrinkled, each wrinkle bearing a number of warts, all emitting hairs of various lengths; those of the largest warts are long and curved, with the basal half white and apical half blackish; the smaller warts emit extremely fine, short, stiff hairs, giving the surface a rough texture; all the warts are whitish-green. The head is also furnished with hairs; the anal points are now rather conspicuous and whitish and have a number of white hairs; each terminates with a bristle. The lateral line is fine and white; the spiracles reddish; the mouth parts and eye spots dark chocolate-brown, the latter outlined with white." - Frohawk (1924)

5th Instar

"The fourth moult December 22nd, 1892. Three days after the fourth moult it measures 10.2 mm. long. The head is large, measuring 1.6 mm. wide, slightly compressed in front and of a clear green colour, finely granulated and studded with numerous whitish warts, each emitting a greyish hair, some are almost black; mouth parts and eye spots black. The body is nearly cylindrical, being a trifle thickest about the middle and attenuated at the anal extremity; the segments are transversely wrinkled and thickly studded with whitish warts of various sizes, all emitting blackish hairs of similar formation to those of the previous stage. A dark green dorsal line runs the entire length, but is palest on the anterior segments; there is also a very indistinct super-spiracular line, slightly darker than the ground colour, and a lateral white line; the spiracles are orange; the anal segment is clear green and the point green dorsally and white ventrally; the segmental divisions are outlined with pale yellow. The whole ventral surface, including the legs and claspers, is of the same colour as the dorsal surface and likewise warty and hairy. They frequently feed at night in mild weather during the winter months, remaining throughout the day resting on the stems near the roots ... The larvae of E. ianira pass the winter months in partial hibernation, only becoming torpid during the coldest weather, and usually when the larva is in its fourth stage. They feed all through the winter months whenever the weather is sufficiently mild ... When 178 days old and after fourth moult, February 9th, 1893, the same individual as previously described had much increased in size, measuring is mm. long, and considerably attenuated. The previous description agrees exactly with its present state, except in the few following points. The colouring of both head and body is now of a purer grass-green; the anal points are white, with the extremities tinged pinkish-buff; the transverse wrinkles are less distinct; the legs and claspers inclining to whitish. This specimen continued in advance of the others, which were still in the fourth stage, i.e., after the third moult, which is the normal hibernating stage." - Frohawk (1924)

6th Instar

"The fifth and last moult occurred on March 1st, 1893. Shortly after this moult the colouring is greenish-white, the spiracles orange, the segments deeply wrinkled and rough, produced by the density of the hairs and their warty bases giving the surface a velvety texture. The head is large in proportion and darker green than the rest of the body. On April 12th, 1893, this same specimen attained its full size, measuring 25.4 mm. in length while resting. After the fifth and last moult the body is rather obese, attenuated at both ends, mostly so posteriorly; the segmental sub-divisions form deep transverse wrinkles, chiefly on the posterior of each segment; the entire surface, including the head, is beset with numerous fine greyish and black hairs, the longest curving backwards. It is entirely of a bright, clear green colour over the upper surface down to the fine white longitudinal lateral line, which runs the entire length, terminating in the white anal point; below this line the whole of the ventral surface, including the claspers, is a slightly darker green; the legs are pale. The head is the same colour as the body; the spiracles are very small and orange. A dark green medio-dorsal longitudinal stripe runs the entire length, but is palest over the anterior segments. Over the whole surface of the body there are numerous black specks, varying in size, all very minute; the largest are only visible through a lens. During the last stage they only feed at night, remaining among the grass stems low down during the day, resting in a straight position. Upon the slightest disturbance they fall from the stems and roll in a ring, and remain in that attitude a short time, then slowly uncoil themselves and sluggishly crawl up the stems again. On April 22 nd, 1893, this same individual (the one above described) suspended itself for pupation; it spun a pad of silk upon a grass stem and attached itself to it by its hind claspers, and hung suspended for two days, and pupated on April 24th, 1893, having passed 252 days in the larval state." - Frohawk (1924)

Meadow Brown - larva - Stockbridge Down - 07-Jun-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
07-Jun-2015

Photo Album (1 photos) ...


Pupa

The pupa is formed low down in vegetation, suspended by the cremaster that is invariably attached to the old larval skin. This stage lasts between 3 and 4 weeks.

"The pupa averages 15.9 mm. long. Lateral view: It is 6.3 mm. in diameter across the middle. The head is bi-angular and forms almost a straight line with the thorax, which is swollen, with a central dorsal keel; the meta-thorax is sunken; the abdomen is slightly curved to the fifth segment, it then strongly curves to the anal extremity, which remains embedded in the larval skin; this adheres firmly to the last two segments. When the slough is removed these two segments are found to be considerably wrinkled, the segmental division almost obliterated and of one uniform colour without markings; the anal segment terminates in a compressed, projecting cremastral flap, without any hooks, but merely an apical cluster of simple, straight, spinous hairs. In this respect it resembles the pupa of E. hyperantus. From the point of the head to near the apex of the wings the outline takes nearly a straight course; the wing then turns inwards to the apex. Dorsal view: The head is bi-lobed in front, having two triangular lateral points; base of wing with an angular projection, from which a ridge runs along the sub-median nervure; it is slightly narrowed across the middle; the abdomen tapers gradually to the anal extremity. The ground colour of the entire surface is of a beautiful clear, bright green, thickly sprinkled with speckles and blotches of primrose-yellow, which gives the abdomen quite a yellow hue; the thorax is speckled with pale yellow, the dorsal keel also yellow, and the head, limbs and wings are finely reticulated with the same pale yellow; the latter are further adorned with bold black markings; the first and smallest is near the apex; the second runs from the middle of the hind margin to the discoidal cell, where it is acutely elbowed and continued along the cell in a slight curve; the third runs along and borders the white sub-median ridge, almost filling the space between that and the inner margin, thus making it very conspicuous. A double longitudinal dorsal series of ashy-brown spots commences on the thorax, and is continued along the abdomen, where they join a small black sub-dorsal point on each segment; similar blotches form a spiracular band; also a lateral series of black specks; on the wing is a sub-hind marginal series of small black dots; the legs are streaked with ashy-brown; the head points are margined with dark brown and white. The whole combination of colouring and pattern forms a handsome, variegated pupa. Such is the description when five days old. The pupa vary considerably in the depth and extent of markings; in some the dorsal marks form almost a continual longitudinal band, and those on the wings are very bold and all are black. In others the dorsal spots are almost absent and the wing markings are only faintly indicated by pale drab. A few days before emerging the pupa commences to change in colour, gradually becoming pale and yellower, and finally changes to a dull smoky-black, and the wings assume a dull black. The first one, a male, emerged on May 21st, 1893, the pupal state lasting twenty-seven days. Many males emerged before the females. The early date of their emergence was due to the excessive heat of the spring of that year." - Frohawk (1924)

Meadow Brown - pupa - Bulford Ranges - 10-Aug-98 [Tim Norriss]

Photo © Tim Norriss

Meadow Brown - pupa - Unknown location - Unknown date (2) [REARED] [Ben Smart]

Photo © Ben Smart

Meadow Brown pupa. 29/6/2014. High and Over, Seaford, East Sussex.

Photo © badgerbob
29-Jun-2014

Meadow Brown pupa. 6/7/2014. High and Over, Seaford, East Sussex.

Photo © badgerbob
06-Jul-2014

Meadow Brown pupa - Frog Firle, Sussex 17-July-2014

Photo © downland boy
17-Jul-2014

Meadow Brown - Pupa - Pamphill, Dorset - 01-06-2015

Photo © Coopera
01-Jun-2015

Meadow Brown - pupa - Stockbridge Down - 01-Jun-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
01-Jun-2015

Meadow Brown - pupa - Stockbridge Down - 08-Jun-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
08-Jun-2015

Meadow Brown - pupa - Stockbridge Down - 19-Jun-15

Photo © Pete Eeles
19-Jun-2015

Photo Album (9 photos) ...


Aberrations

Description to be completed.

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Similar Species

Gatekeeper

Description to be completed.

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References

The species description provided here references the following publications:

ReferenceDetails
Albin (1720) Albin, E. (1720) A Natural History of English Insects: Illustrated with a Hundred Copper Plates, Curiously Engraven from the Life.
Boisduval (1833) Boisduval, J.A. (1833) Icones historiques des Lépidoptères d'Europe nouveaux.
Chalmers-Hunt (1970) Chalmers-Hunt, J.M. (1970) The Butterflies and Moths of the Isle of Man. Transactions of the Society for British Entomology.
Dennis (1977) Dennis, R.L.H. (1977) The British Butterflies - Their Origin and Establishment.
Frohawk (1924) Frohawk, F.W. (1924) The Natural History of British Butterflies.
Graves (1930a) Graves, P.P. (1930) The British and Irish Maniola jurtina. The Entomologist.
Grote (1897) Grote, A.R. (1897) Die Schmetterlingsfauna von Hildesheim. - Mitt. Roemer-Museum, Hildesh.
Lewin (1795) Lewin, W. (1795) The Papilios of Great Britain.
Linnaeus (1758) Linnaeus, C. (1758) Systema Naturae. Edition 10.
Morris (1853) Morris, Rev.F.O. (1853) A History of British Butterflies.
Petiver (1695-1703) Petiver, J. (1695-1703) Musei Petiveriani centuria prima-decima, rariora naturae continens.
Petiver (1717) Petiver, J. (1717) Papilionum Britanniae Icones.
Rafinesque (1815) Rafinesque, C.S. (1815) Analyse de la nature ou Tableau de l'univers et des corps organisés.
Schrank (1801) Schrank, F. (1801) Fauna boica. Durchgedachte Geschichte der in Baiern einheimschen und zahmen Thiere.
Thomson (1969) Thomson, G. (1969) Maniola (Epinephile) jurtina (L.) (Lep. Satyridae) and its forms. Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation.
Thomson (1970a) Thomson, G. (1970) On the Nature of Maniola jurtina splendida B.-White (Lep. Satyridae). Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation.
White (1871) White, F.B. (1871) The Lepidoptera of Scotland. Scottish Naturalist.