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Dusky Meadow Brown

Hyponephele lycaon

  • Latin synonym: Maniola lycaon
  • Family: Brushfooted Butterflies – Nymphalidae
  • Subfamily: Browns – Satyrinae
  • Wing span: Medium-sized, 34–45 mm (1.33–1.76 in.).
  • Wing upper side: Brown, female forewing apex with two eyespots, male with one. Eyespots black, females often also with white spot in middle and yellowish area on forewing around eyespots.
  • Wing underside: Forewing brownish orange, margin greyish brown. Both genders with eyespot on forewing apex, females with second blotch further along edge of forewing. Hind wing greyish brown.
  • Habitat: Dry meadows and moors.
  • Flying time: Late July and early August.
  • Overwintering form: Caterpillar.
  • Larval foodplant: Different grasses (Poaceae).
  • Endangerment: Vulnerable.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Finland was an established part of dusky meadow brown’s territory. In the 1940s it disappeared altogether, but at the end of the ‘90s it began to establish itself again in the south-east of the country.

The dusky meadow brown always rests with its wings pressed together, which makes the upper side difficult to study without catching it. Females have two eyespots on the edge of the forewing while males have only one. The eyespots and orange colouring on the underside of the forewing distinguish the dusky meadow brown from its close relatives. Males can be confused with meadow brown males, but the latter have two small eyespots on the underside of the hind wings which the dusky meadow brown lacks.

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