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A delightful and quite common little brown and orange butterfly often found near or on brambles.


Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

Gatekeeper: on guard duty

Post date: Tuesday, 1 July, 2014 - 00:00

In July we see the delightful little gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) butterflies take to the wing. They have a relatively short season and in three weeks or so they are gone for another year.

At first glance the gatekeeper can seem superficially similar to the meadow brown but when at rest and it opens its wings it reveals this brilliant orange that the meadow brown can only dream of! It is also smaller than the meadow brown.

In days gone by this was known as the hedge brown as it is very common along hedgerows, especially around brambles. Its common name is derived from this love of brambles as brambles very often grow around farm gates and clouds of these butterflies can be found in this habitat almost as if is the gate that is the attraction, not the flowers.

In addition to bramble flowers they love wild marjoram and I have seen upwards of fifteen on a single clump of this herb on a sunny day.


The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Gatekeeper
Scientific Name Pyronia tithonus
Interest Level
Species Family Satyrid Butterflies (Browns)
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species