Satyridae….Little Brown Jobs

With most of my butterfly posts I tend to highlight subjects that are rather beautiful or quite rare, sometimes both.  There is one family that I have not featured very much.  These are the ones that when we are out in the countryside Mrs H will call another of them little brown jobs, the Satyridae.  So time to give them a moment of fame, and to be honest I have, er, ‘one or two’ images of them as I find them attractive.  These are nearly all species of high summer.  Their caterpillars eat various grasses, 2018 was very hot and dry and it is thought this might have an impact on numbers this coming year, we shall have to wait and see.

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Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)

The Meadow Brown is the largest of the Satyridae with a wingspan of around 2 inches (50mm), it is also the UK’s most abundant butterfly.  Pictured above is the female, the males are much darker with only a smudge of orange around the eyespot.

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Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)

Also called the Hedge Brown.  Both names are very apt as this butterfly is mostly found around these features.  It is smaller than the Meadow Brown at approx 1 3/4 inches (42mm) and with the wings closed can be confused with that species.  The i.d features are two white ‘pupils’ in eyespots and diagnostically the small white spots on the lower wing.  With it’s wings open there is no mistake as it’s washed with orange.

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Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

This has always been a favourite of mine.  Memories of childhood as we played in the country lanes and this chocolate brown butterfly would lazily flit along the flower strewn verges.

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Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)

Usually very annoying in trying to get photographs of. The Small Heath has a tendency to keep low, hidden among the grasses.  It is the smallest of the browns at less than 1 1/2 inches (35mm).

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Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)

The longest flight period of all the Satyridae from early April to October.  This species loves shady woodland, if there is a small area lit by sunlight a male will defend this as his territory.

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Marbled White (Melanargia galathea)

To finish a bit of a curve ball, not all browns are brown!  This beautiful butterfly is spreading it’s range.  One day I hope to see them in my home County, they are not too far away.

One feature of all the Satyridae are the eyespots or ocelli.  These are thought to act as a warning to potential predators.  Some species of butterfly have more complex and convincing ‘eyes’, if you would like to learn more fellow blogger Ray has written an excellent post

And while we in the northern hemisphere will have to wait a couple more months for butterflies to appear it is cheering to read of a mini migration in South Africa at Ark’s place


31 thoughts on “Satyridae….Little Brown Jobs

    1. Thank you Ark. On a completely different subject I’m as nervous as a bunch of your kittens! Today is the big local derby, top v bottom. I won’t listen to the game the tension is too much, this could be the biggest banana skin of the season.


      1. Oh yesssss!!! Way to go, even our ex (hero) manager Lambert got a red card to complete a perfect day. Must say I did have a bad feeling over this one, thankfully it was pretty straight forward. Onward and upward, c’mon you Yellows!!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Saw little brown jobbers and immediately thought of our multitude of brown Sparrows which are extremely difficult to ID. Looks like the same goes for the Butters. For the record, that last picture is absolutely amazing. If I were you, I’d be finding some photography contests to submit that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gorgeous photographs, Brian! The lighting is superb in all of them, and they are incredibly sharp. Really cool to see, thanks. I have a feeling there are a lot more species of butterflies and moths around me than I imagine.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers Ron. Yes if you go out looking in the right places you will be amazed what you could find, beware it can be addictive! You mention the image sharpness, the original shots are much sharper, unfortunately when they are uploaded on this blog wordpress compress them a little. This is something I have discussed with them but with this theme I cannot increase compression. I have to post the images as large as possible, however if others have not seen the originals they can’t compare the two, the guy from wp said they looked great and I was tearing my hair out!


      1. I will be looking for moths this year and looking closer at butterflies! The other thing I’m woefully ignorant about is plants. Other birders know all of them, and I’m walking around taking bird photos and have no idea what the flowers and other plants around me are. Pretty pathetic. I _really_ should do something about that as well.

        I belong to a couple of Illinois birding groups on Facebook, which generally consists of people posting bird photos, and the compression that Facebook applies is really, really awful. I have the same reaction as you do. For our blogs, my brother and I upload our photos to Smugmug first, where we each have unlimited storage for about $60 per year, and then we insert links to them that load them into our blogs. We bring them at just medium or maybe large size, but I haven’t noticed anything terrible being done to them in WordPress. Maybe my brother can chime in if he’s seen anything done to them. If it makes you feel any better, your photographs look ultra-sharp to my eyes. It sounds like I’d be absolutely blown away by your originals.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Plants? I’m absolutely hopeless but learning, there are so many a field guide would be the size of the complete works of Shakespeare!
        I shoot all my images in 14bit raw so I have total control in processing. And yes the detail can be breathtaking with the macro lens, convert to jpeg so the images can be transferred and there is a slight drop in quality, then upload here and there is another drop, frustrating. If it was possible to upload raw images (which it isn’t) the files are so big (24mb) the free wordpress allowance would be used up pretty rapidly!


  3. I only knew about ” little brown jobs” in relation to birds, and am still trying to tell many of them apart. I might never be able to get around to studying butterflies enough to get to recognize most of them. Your photographs are gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

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