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Gatekeeper Female Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Subphylum: Hexapoda Class: Insecta Order: Lepidoptera (unranked): Rhopalocera Superfamily: Papilionoidea Family: Nymphalidae Subfamily: Satyrinae Tribe: Satyrini Subtribe: Maniolina Genus: Pyronia Species: P. tithonus Binomial name Pyronia tithonus (Linnaeus, 1758) The Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) sometimes called the Hedge Brown is a common butterfly in the United Kingdom. It is a member of the subfamily Satyrinae in the family Nymphalidae. A similar species is the Meadow Brown, especially in the female sex, which likes to rest with closed wings however, especially the far less active females. The name "Gatekeeper" may refer to its frequent occurrence near field gates and to the man who was responsible for the toll gates in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when butterflies were more numerous than they are today. As indicated by its alternate name, the gatekeeper butterfly prefers the habitat of meadow margins and hedges; field gates are often in such locations, and thus the Gatekeeper can be found much more frequently in such locations than the Meadow Brown for example. Underwing pattern differs little from the Meadow Brown. The larvae of Satyrinae all feed on grasses, such as Rough Meadowgrass Poa trivialis, Smooth Meadow Grass Poa pratensis, Sheep's Fescue, 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 old 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. It flies more but strays about less than the male Meadow Brown (Stevens 2005). Two similar species of Pyronia are found in southern Europe, the Southern Gatekeeper (P. cecilia) and the Spanish Gatekeeper (P. bathsheba). Sexual dimorphism The Gatekeeper, like many Satyrinae, exhibit sexual dimorphism. The male has a dark patch on the upper side of the forewing. This is an area of scent-producing scales known as the androconia. Female Pyronia tithonus Male Pyronia tithonus References Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Pyronia tithonus Stevens, Martin (2005): The role of eyespots as anti-predator mechanisms, principally demonstrated in the Lepidoptera. Biol. Rev. 80(4): 573–588. doi:10.1017/S1464793105006810 (HTML abstract) This Satyrinae article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it. v • d • e