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Meadow Brown

Maniola jurtina

  • Family: Brushfooted Butterflies – Nymphalidae
  • Subfamily: Browns – Satyrinae
  • Wing span: Medium-sized, 35–46 mm (1.37–1.79 in.). Females usually slightly larger than males.
  • Wing upper side: Brown, Forewing apex with eyespot surrounded by orange embroidery. Females with orange pattern that can cover most of the forewing, with males only visible as light ring around eyespot.
  • Wing underside: Forewing orange, margin greyish brown. Apex with black eyespot with white centre. Hind wing greyish brown–brown. Colour of males’ hind wing uniform, females’ with light-coloured strip along most of margin. Males often also with small eyespots along edge of wing.
  • Habitat: Damp meadows and grazing land.
  • Flying time: July.
  • Overwintering form: Caterpillar.
  • Larval foodplant: Different grasses (Poaceae).
  • Endangerment: Vulnerable.

The meadow brown is more common than its relative dusky meadow brown, although it is not found on the mainland: the best places to look for it are the Åland Isles and the south-western archipelago. Both genders have an eyespot in the apex of the forewing but the males also have two eyespots at the edge of the hind wings. The eyespots together with the orange colouring on the forewing set the meadow brown apart from the graylings. It is most like the dusky meadow brown, although the females of that species have two eyespots in the apex of the forewing and the males lack the small eyespots on the edge of the hind wings. Females lay their eggs individually on different kinds of grasses.

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