The Gatekeeper, sometimes called the Hedge Brown, is a common butterfly Its name may refer to it being found near field gates.It prefers the habitat of meadow margins and hedges; field gates are often in such locations, and so the Gatekeeper can be found much more frequently in such locations than the Meadow Brown for example.

The larvae feed on grasses and are usually green or brown in colour. The pupae are a flimsy chrysalis either hanging upside down or lying in grass. The adults are often found round blackberry plants. 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 onld individuals. This dark patch is clearly visible in the male Gatekeeper. 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.

Last Updated: 30th-Jun-2007 14:03 Print
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