Meadow Brown Satyridae

Maniola jurtina (Linnaeus 1758)

Description: Wingspan 52-56mm. Males and females differ. In males the uppersides are dark brown with a white pupilled, black eyespot set in a small orange patch near the apex of the forewing. The underside of the forewing is mainly orange with an eyespot. The underside of the hindwings are brown at the base with a grey panel along the side margin. Females are larger and paler brown. The orange patch on the forewing is larger and they also show some orange on the hindwing. The underside pattern is similar to the male but more contrasting.

Similar Species: In N. Ireland the only confusion could be with the Ringlet with which this species often flies. The Meadow Brown is larger, generally paler brown and has orange underside to forewings.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside male underside female upperside female underside

Flight Period: Univoltine, adults emerge at the beginning of June and are common until mid-August. In some localities adults can be seen until late October. There is great variation between emergence patterns. At coastal sites emergence is often prolonged and adults can be seen into early Autumn.

Status: This is a widespread and often common species found throughout N. Ireland especially on permanent unimproved grassland such as sand dunes. It becomes scarcer in upland areas. It is known from Rathlin Island.

Ecology: The Meadow Brown inhabits permanent grassland and the margins of wet heaths and wetlands. It avoids short heavily-grazed grassland, but can occur in late-cut hays meadows and large populations can be found on recently abandoned grasslands. It can also occur on verges, along the base of hedges and in wide woodland rides. Adults fly over the grassland habitat. Males fly out from perches or fly over small patches of meadows searching for females. These only fly to feed or oviposit. Females mate once usually on first day after emergence. Eggs are laid singly usually on grass stems but females are non-discriminatory and will lay on dead grasses or other vegetation. The third instar larvae overwinter.

World Distribution: North Africa, Europe to central Scandinavia and Asia to Western Siberia.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1626 Agassiz number: 59.010

Additional information:

UK Butterflies account


 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland