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UK Nature > Butterflies > Pyronia tithonus




Scientific Name: Pyronia tithonus
Common Name: Gatekeeper

Pyronia tithonus, more commonly known as the Gatekeeper (sometimes called the Hedge Brown), is a common butterfly in the United Kingdom. As indicated by its common name, the Gatekeeper butterfly prefers the habitat of meadow margins and hedges and field gates are often in such locations. The adults are often found round blackberry plants, as the adult butterflies have a quite short proboscis and the flowers of the blackberry, being quite shallow, provide an excellent nectar source.

Males have a dark patch of scent scales in the middle of the forewing for courtship purposes except in very old individuals. This dark patch is clearly visible in the male Gatekeeper (see photograph above). The characteristic eyespots on the forewing probably deflect bird attacks away from the butterfly's body rather than startle away predators - the Gatekeeper likes to rest with its wings open and the eyespots visible.











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