Species: Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus britanniae)

Family: Fritillaries, Nymphalids and Browns (NYMPHALIDAE)

Category: Butterflies & Moths

Location: NW

A. Butterflies & Moths

B. Fritillaries, Nymphalids and Browns (NYMPHALIDAE)

This is a large family containing many of our most colourful and familiar butterflies. Many are strong fliers, with a flapping flight interspersed with glides and swoops. The Fritillaries are predominantly orange with dark markings, and the Browns largely brown, but the Nymphalids have a range of colours.

C. Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus britanniae)

The dancing flight of the gatekeeper is characteristic, and it seldom wanders from the area of its colony. It favours sunny sites, and feeds preferentially on Bramble and Common Ragwort, both common in the cemetery, as are most of the grasses on which eggs are laid, particularly Cock's Foot, meadow-grasses, Timothy, Couch, and the fescues. The caterpillar is grey or pale green. This butterfly has a relatively short flying season from mid-June until early September.

Images

Gatekeeper

The dancing flight of the Gatekeeper butterfly is characteristic, and it seldom wanders from the area of its colony.

Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper favours sunny sites, and feeds preferentially on bramble and ragwort, as can be seen here in July 2023.

(Photo credit: John Heys.)