Subfamily: Satyrinae

Family:NymphalidaeRafinesque, 1815
Subfamily:SatyrinaeBoisduval, 1833


Family: Nymphalidae

The Nymphalidae is a family of several thousand species found in all zoogeographical regions of the world. Most are medium or large in size, but the family is highly variable given that it also includes the Satyrinae, a subfamily that has been designated as a family in its own right in earlier classifications.

The forelegs in both sexes are vestigial and useless for walking. In the male, there are typically only 2 tarsal joints and the legs have a brush-like appearance, resulting in a common name for this family - the "brush-footed butterflies". The female foreleg has 4 tarsal joints which, when compared with the male, provides a mechanism of determining the sex of the adult. The midleg and hindleg are normal in both sexes and both tibia and tarsus may have spines.

Highslide JSHighslide JS

Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne)
Photo © Nigel Kiteley

White Admiral (Limenitis camilla)
Photo © Peter Eeles

The forewing always has 12 veins. Given the variability of this family, there are no further distinguishing characteristics that apply to the family as a whole.

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS

Nymphalidae (Danainae)
Danaus plexippus

Nymphalidae (Satyrinae)
Pyronia tithonus

Nymphalidae (Nymphalinae)
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Boloria selene

Photo © Timothy Freed, whose original drawings are shown in Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 7, Issue 1 (Emmet & Heath, 1989)

Subfamily: Satyrinae

Description to be completed.


This subfamily is represented by the following tribes:


This subfamily is represented by the following genera:


This subfamily is represented by the species shown below.

Wall Brown male - Tide Mills, Sussex 7-Sept-2017

Lasiommata megera
Photo © trevor

Large Wall - imago - Samoens - 01-Jul-07 (2) [Paul Kipling]

Large Wall
Lasiommata maera
Photo © Paul Kipling

Speckled Wood male - Solihull West Midlands 29.04.2014

Speckled Wood
Pararge aegeria
Photo © Neil Freeman

Large-Heath-davus Whixall Moss 13-June-11 03C8780

Large Heath
Coenonympha tullia
Photo © IainLeach

Small-Heath-Cambridge 8 August 2010 I9T0893

Small Heath
Coenonympha pamphilus
Photo © IainLeach

Arran Brown - imago - Unknown location - Unknown date [Roger Gibbons]

Arran Brown
Erebia ligea
Photo © Roger Gibbons

Mountain Ringlet male - Irton Fell 12.06.2014

Mountain Ringlet
Erebia epiphron
Photo © Neil Freeman

Scotch-Argus- 5D32869 Arnside Aug 2012

Scotch Argus
Erebia aethiops
Photo © IainLeach

Almond-Eyed Ringlet, Parc du Mercantour, Alpes-Maritimes, France, 7th July 2014

Almond-eyed Ringlet
Erebia alberganus
Photo © David M

Ringlet Male - Woldingham, Surrey 30-June-10

Aphantopus hyperantus
Photo © Vince Massimo

Meadow Brown female - Cissbury Ring, Sussex 1-Aug-2014

Meadow Brown
Maniola jurtina
Photo © Neil Hulme

Gatekeeper male - Ryton Wood Warwickshire 14.07.2012

Pyronia tithonus
Photo © Neil Freeman

Marbled White - imago - Pamber Forest - 29-Jun-08 (1)

Marbled White
Melanargia galathea
Photo © Pete Eeles

Grayling-Arneside Knott 3 July 2011 03C0539

Hipparchia semele
Photo © IainLeach

Woodland (or Rock) Grayling - male - Jósvafő, Hungary - 03-Jul-12

Woodland Grayling
Hipparchia fagi
Photo © Pete Eeles

False Grayling poss. male - Var, France 2-Aug-2007

False Grayling
Arethusana arethusa
Photo © Roger Gibbons

Hermit male - Switzerland 4-Aug-2016

Chazara briseis
Photo © Padfield