Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus
Back To Linnaeus, 1771
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Male: 37 - 43mm
Female: 42 - 48m
AKA hedge Brown . - An Orange Golden Butterfly of Summer Eyespots on the forewing most likely reduce bird attacks, therefore the gatekeeper is often seen resting with its wings open. . sexes are convenent to identify - only the male has the distinctive dark patch sex brands on the forewing containing scent-producing scales The gatekeeper is orange with two large brown spots on its wings and a brown pattern on the edge of its wings.There are a number of aberrant forms, such as excessa, where specimens have two to four extra spots on the forewing upperside. Hindwing spot number on the underside also varies.
Similar Species meadow Brown
One generation each year, with adults emerging at the end of June in favourable years, peaking at the end of July and early August, with only a few adults remaining until the end of the month. In contrast with its close relative, the Meadow Brown, this butterfly has a relatively-short flight period.
Pyronia tithonus is a characteristic field-margin species; it feeds on grasses as larvae and nectar as adults. The larvae of Satyrinae all feed on grasses, such as rough meadowgrass (Poa trivialis), smooth meadow grass (Poa pratensis) and sheep's fescue (Festuca ovina); they are usually green or brown. The pupae are a flimsy chrysalis either hanging upside down or lying in grass. The adults are often found around blackberry plants. The adult butterflies have a short proboscis and the shallow flowers of the blackberry provide an excellent nectar source.
Larval food plants The primary larval food plants are bents (various Agrostis species), fescues (various Festuca species) and meadow-grasses (various Poa species). Common couch (Elymus repens) is also used.
Can be found wherever shrubs grow adjacent to rough grassland. In fact, some of the largest colonies can be found at field edges and along hedgerows scrubby grassland, woodland rides, country lanes, hedgerows