Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Species: Species Account - The Meadow Brown:
Meadow Brown
Maniola jurtina (Linnaeus, 1758)

Meadow Brown egg.
ova
  Meadow Brown caterpillar.
larva
  Meadow Brown chrysalis
pupa
Meadow Brown
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Nomenclature
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Nymphalidae: Subfamily Satyrinae : Genus Maniola: Species jurtina:
Description
In the right habitat the Meadow Brown can be the most abundant butterfly on the wing. They are often seen in large numbers feeding on Bramble alongside other grassland species such as the Gatekeeper and Ringlet. Like the Ringlet the Meadow Brown will also fly in dull weather... even when its spotting with rain... when most other butterfly species are inactive.

The Meadow Brown has many regional variations with various distinctively different spots on the wings. In Ireland and northern Scotland the Meadow Brown is larger in size to its southern counterparts.
Habitat
The Meadow Brown occurs in a wide variety of grassland habitats such as downland heathland coastal dunes meadows roadside verges, hedgerows, woodland rides and clearings. It will also occur in urban habitats such as parks, large gardens, and cemeteries where grassy areas are left to grow tall.

Meadow Browns like all other grassland butterfly species do not form breeding colonies on roadside verges or other grassy areas if they are regularly mown as this reduces the number of grass species, favours the stronger coarser grasses and removed vital nectar sources.
Distribution
The Meadow Brown is one of our most common and widespread grassland species. It occurs where a variety and plentiful supply of grass species occur. Many colonies have been lost as a result of agricultural intensification over the last 20 years.
Where to see the Meadow Brown in the British Isles
The Meadow Brown is one of our most common and widespread grassland species. It occurs where a variety and plentiful supply of grass species occur. Many colonies have been lost as a result of agricultural intensification over the last 20 years.
Other notes
Lifecycle chart
larvaelarvaelarvaelarvaelarvaepupaadultpupaadultovapupaadultovalarvaepupaadultovalarvaelarvaelarvaelarvae
 
Flight chart
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
The lifecycle and flight charts should be regarded as approximate guides to the Meadow Brown in Britain. Specific lifecycle states, adult emergence and peak flight times vary from year to year due to variations in weather conditions.
IUCN category status 2010 5   IUCN category status 2007 34
--awaiting data-- --awaiting data--

5Fox, R., Warren, M., Brereton, T. M., Roy, D. B. & Robinson, A.
(2010) A new Red List of British Butterflies. Insect Conservation and Diversity.
Least Concern Least Concern

3Fox, R., Warren, M & Brereton, T.
(2007) New Red List of British Butterflies. Butterfly Conservation, Wareham.

4More information about IUCN categories.
Wingspan
40-60mm
UK status
Resident
Larval foodplants
The primary larval foodplants of the Meadow Brown are fine grasses such as Bents (Agrostis spp.) Fescues (Festuca spp.) and meadow-grasses (Poa spp.).

Some coarser grasses are also used including False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) Cock's-foot (Dactylis glomerata) and Downy Oat-grass (Helictotrichon pubescens). However the Meadow Brown larvae may also feed on an even wider variety of grass species.
British subspecies
Maniola jurtina ssp. cassiteridum (Graves, 1930)
Occurs in the Isles of Scilly only.
Maniola jurtina ssp. iernes (Graves, 1930)
Occurs in in Ireland.The forewings of this subspecies sometimes has more spots. It is the largest of the subspecies which occurs in Britain.
Maniola jurtina ssp. insularis (Thompson, 1969)
Occurs in England and Wales.
Maniola jurtina ssp. splendida (White, 1871)
Occurs in north-west Scotland and the Isle of Man.
Butterflies of Britain ID Chart
Your personal guide to British Butterflies. This 8-panel laminated chart is designed for speedy butterfly identification in the field. Ideal for anyone interested in identifying butterflies, perfect for children and adults and ideal for outdoor use, laminated, shower-proof and robust. Get your copy today.
Butterflies of Britain (Laminated ID Chart).
Online store
Visit our online store for many more butterfly related books and gifts.
Population trends 1
UK Population trend 1995-2004 down by -5%
UK Population trend 1976-2004 up by 28%

1Fox, R., Asher. J., Brereton. T., Roy, D & Warren, M. (2006) The State of Butterflies in Britain & Ireland, Pices, Oxford.
UK BAP status 2
UK BAP status not listed (link)

2For information about the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, visit the JNCC web site jncc.defra.gov.uk.

National Biodiversity Network Gateway
National Biodiversity Network Gateway Distribution Map



Areas in and indicate a contraction in distribution of the Meadow Brown except in Ireland where data is only available up until 1999.

* Records shown in outside the natural distribution may be the result of illegal or accidental releases by breeders or, depending upon the species, migrant individuals from mainland Europe.

Key to map*
= 2000 to 2010 inclusive (current distribution)
= records from 1950 to 1999 inclusive
= records from 1900 to 1949 inclusive
Records prior to 1st January 1900 are not shown.

The NBN Gateway records are shown on the map right. (See terms and conditions).

More data is available on the Meadow Brown on the NBN Gateway web site.
Powered by NBN Gateway.
References
For full details of books and reports mentioned on this web site, view the references page.

Find out more online*
Meadow Brown can be found on Peter Eeles excellent UK Butterflies web site.
Meadow Brown can be found on Matt Rowlings excellent European Butterflies web site.

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Photographs of the Meadow Brown
Image ID BB2196 - Meadow Brown - © Steven Cheshire
Meadow Brown male (imago)
BB2196 ©
Image ID BB2195 - Meadow Brown - © Steven Cheshire
Meadow Brown male (imago)
BB2195 ©
Image ID BB1923 - Meadow Brown - © Steven Cheshire
Meadow Brown (imago)
BB1923 ©
Image ID BB1663 - Meadow Brown - © Debbie Cheshire
Meadow Brown (imago)
BB1663 ©
Image ID BB905 - Meadow Brown - © Steven Cheshire
Meadow Brown female (imago)
BB905 ©
Image ID BB904 - Meadow Brown - © Steven Cheshire
Meadow Brown female (imago)
BB904 ©
Image ID BB903 - Meadow Brown - © Steven Cheshire
Meadow Brown female (imago)
BB903 ©
Image ID BB783 - Meadow Brown - © Steven Cheshire
Meadow Brown female (imago)
BB783 ©
Image ID BB466 - Meadow Brown - © Steven Cheshire
Meadow Brown unknown (imago)
BB466 ©
Image ID BB443 - Meadow Brown - © Steven Cheshire
Meadow Brown female (imago)
BB443 ©
There are 13 photographs of the Meadow Brown in our stock photo library.
View more photographs of the Meadow Brown as a thumbnail gallery or as a slideshow.
Aberrations and forms
There are 15 named aberrant forms of the Meadow Brown currently listed. Find out more about aberrants here.

ab. addenda - Mousley 1903
ab. alba - Blackie 1920
ab. anommata - Verity 1904
ab. anticrassipuncta - Leeds 1950
ab. antiparvipuncta - Leeds 1950
ab. cinerea - Cosmovici 1892
ab. grisea-aurea - Oberthür 1909
ab. minor - Leeds 1950
ab. nigrianira - Johnstone 1941
ab. postatrescens - Leeds 1950
ab. postaurolancea - Leeds 1950
ab. postfulvosa - Leeds 1950
ab. postmultifidus - Lipscomb 1980
ab. radiata - Frohawk 1938
ab. wauteiri - Lambillion 1905