PYRONIA tithonus

Gatekeeper, Hedge Brown




Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class: Insecta (Insects)
Subclass: Pterygota (Winged Insects)
Order: Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Sub-Order: Rhopalocera (Butterflies)
Family: Satyridae (Browns)
Genus: Pyronia
Species: tithonus
Pyronia tithonus

The Gatekeeper or Hedge Brown butterfly is a common British butterfly found in meadows, grassy places and gardens, and often settles with its wings open on plants in the sun. The wings are orange with soft brown edges and a large black spot with two white dots on the forewing. The male is brighter than the female, and has a band of brown scent scales in the middle of the forewing.

The food plants of the Gatekeeper include Marjoram, Ragwort and brambles.

The caterpillar is a greyish green colour, slightly hairy, and the foodplant is mainly grasses.

The underside of the forewing is orange edged with brown with a black spot with small white dots, and the underside of the hind wing is rows of various shades of brown with a few white dots. When the wings are completely closed, the butterfly is well camouflaged amongst the dried grasses where it lays its eggs.

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