Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Butterflies ~ 4

It's been a good day for butterfly spotting...

Meadow Brown (female)
Meadow Brown
Maniola jurtina(Linnaeus, 1758)

Family Nymphalidae

wingspan40-60mm
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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.


Larval Food Plants
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
The following sub-species of the Meadow Brown occur in the UK.
Meadow Brown - Maniola jurtina cassiteridum (Graves, 1930) - Occurs in the Isles of Scilly only.
Meadow Brown - Maniola jurtina 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.
Meadow Brown - Maniola jurtina insularis (Thompson, 1969) - Occurs in England and Wales.
Meadow Brown - Maniola jurtina splendida (White, 1871) - Occurs in north-west Scotland and the Isle of Man.
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
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.



URL http://www.britishbutterflies.co.uk/asp/species.asp?vernacular=Meadow Brown



Peacock Caterpillars

(more info' when they become butterflies...)

1 comment:

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