The Nymphalidae family is very large and divided into subfamilies with the Satyrinae shown on this page. This group used to be the family on its own and commonly known as the 'Brown' family until it was identified as a sub family of the Nymphalidae.
These are the Butterflies that Lorraine and I have spotted so far in either our Garden or the bank at the back of the garden since we began back in late July 2000. Where possible we try to image the different sexes if there is an obvious difference between them.
They are presented in the order in which we usually first see them.
Lorraine and I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures - even though they are probably not the best ever taken of Butterflies!
Speckled Wood Butterfly (North European)
Pararge aegeria tircis
The Speckled Wood Butterfly is widespread in England, Wales and Ireland but has fewer locations in Northern England and Northern and Western Scotland. It seems to prefer woodlands, hedgerows, scrub and generally damp places where there is shade and tall grasses. Like most Browns it prefers Grasses as its food plants. It has two main broods which can overlap so specimens can be seen as early as March and through to September and even October under warm conditions. There are subtle differences between the sexes with the main differences being the spot patterns on the hind wings upper surfaces and the white markings on the forward wing upper surfaces.
Meadow Brown Butterfly
The Meadow Brown Butterfly is one of our most common of the brown family and can be found across the whole of the UK and Ireland. It likes grasslands, heathlands meadows, coastal dunes and disturbed ground. Food plants include a large range of grasses hence it’s widespread distribution. There is usually just one main brood with the earliest of them emerging around June or July and even August or September depending upon the weather. The Males are brown overall in the upper surfaces whilst the Females have a bright orange patch associated with the ‘eye’ on the front wing.
The Ringlet Butterfly is reasonably widespread across most of England and Wales and is scattered across Ireland and Southern Scotland. It’s main food plants are again a variety of grasses and it can be found in many habitats including grasslands (naturally!), riverbanks and any grass verges. There is normally at least one brood with the first specimens appearing from June and the main flight period extending until August. The flight pattern is quite marked as they often appear to bob up and down as the flutter amongst the tall grass. The males tend to be darker and on the front upper wing surfaces have two main spots whilst the female is slightly lighter in colour and the front upper wing has three spots. Sometime the spots are almost absent on the upper surfaces.
The Gatekeeper Butterfly is mainly found in England and Wales with a few locations in southern Ireland as well. Like most browns it likes grasses as its food plants but it also likes Ragwort and Bramble amongst others. It is naturally found amongst grasslands, hedges, scrub and places where lots of flowers grow in clumps such as gateways - which helped give rise to its popular name. There is normally one brood per year appearing around mid July through to August. The butterfly is bright orange and in the Male Gatekeeper there is a dark patch on the upper front wing which is absent in the Female.
Wall Brown Butterfly
The Wall Butterfly is so named as it has a habit of basking on walls and stony areas in sunlight. It is another pretty orange butterfly that likes grasslands, broken stony ground, coastal regions and gardens. Food plants are mainly a wide variety of grasses. It is mostly found in England and Wales with some scattered locations in Ireland. There are normally two broods per year with the first specimens flying around early May and the second from about July. In recent years it seems to have declined in some places and indeed from our own observations we have not seen the Wall Butterfly for the last few years but hope this is a temporary setback. The main differences between the sexes are that there is a dark diagonal band running centrally down the front upper surface from the spot to the abdomen in the Males whereas it runs in the opposite diagonal in the Females.