Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)

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2016 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

20207_male_Var_19May10 20211_female_Var_19May10 42224_female_Var_4Sep16
20178_male_Var_19May10 10610_male_Var_19May08 1780_female_Var_7Jun06

A very common butterfly, almost certainly the most common in the UK, and perhaps in Europe too, although the Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) might claim that distinction in southern France. The male has quite a dull brown upperside with a single apical ocellus, although the female has a strong orange upf post-discal band and greater contrast on the unh.


It is - in my experience - generally a lowland species, unlike its cousin the Dusky Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lycaon) which I have found only at altitude; the textbook altitude ranges are, however, stated as essentially sea level to just below 2000m for both species.

In Provence, the subspecies hispulla predominates, where the ups orange areas on the female are extended and noticeably bright. T&L says that hispulla occurs in south-western France and is transitional to the nominate form in the south. My experience in the PACA region is that pure hispulla occurs there, perhaps in company with the nominate form, although I do not recall having seen nominate jurtina in Var. UK visitors to Var have been somewhat taken aback on seeing hispulla because it is so different to the UK race.

ref sex


alt. m
20207 M

a male, the dark sex brand clearly visible.

20211 F

a female, nicely illustrating the extended orange patches of the subspecies hispulla.

42224 F a female of the subspecies hispulla, which, on comparison, is almost identical to 20211, but with a more defined uph orange band. 220
20178 M

a male, showing that even this common butterfly can be very appealing.

10610 F

a male, nice bright orange.

1780 F

this has a strong discal line externally yellow-orange around the edge of the cell, with a dark submarginal unf band and a double ocellus. This is, I think, the subspecies hispulla.

18895 F

a female of the nominate form.