Butterflies of Scotland
- Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)

Meadow Brown

The Meadow Brown is Orange and brown, with black eyespot on the forewing tip. Eyespots have single white pupils, unlike the Gatekeeper, which has two and is smaller. Regional variations in the spotting pattern on the wings have been studied extensively by geneticists over many years. Larger forms occur in Ireland and the north of Scotland. Males are less colourful, with smaller eyespots and much reduced orange areas on the upper forewings. They are also much more active and range far about, while females fly less and often remain in the area where they grew up.

A variable number of smaller eyespots are usually found on the hindwing undersides. These may number up to 12 per individual butterfly, with up to 6 on each wing. Females have more opportunity to present their eyespots in a sudden display of colours and patterns that presumably make predators hesitate so that the butterfly has a better chance of escaping.

The Meadow Brown is the most abundant butterfly species in many habitats, but many colonies have been lost due to agricultural intensification. They fly low over the vegetation, even in dull weather when most other butterflies are inactive. The caterpillars have a long development period of 8-9 months. In flight from June to October, living for about a month.

Its range extends across much of Europe, eastwards to the Urals, Asia Minor and Iran.

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