Butterfly collage

Article Index

Browns, Fritillaries (Nymphalidae)








Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus

These were photographed on Bownham Common

Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina 

A common butterfly of the summer months. Meadow Brown Butterfly

Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus

Look for these at the end of June or early July. They are more likely found in shaded areas (such as the shrubs round the edge of the Commons) rather than in full sun.  Ringlet Butterfly

Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus

  Small Heath Butterfly


Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria

As the name suggests you would expect to see this in woodland, but it can be found where ever there is suitable shade. (This was photographed on Minchinhampton Common.) It has a complicated life cycle, with up to three broods a year in suitable conditions (and therefore potentially visible from April through to September) and both the pupa and the larva can overwinter.  Speckled Wood Butterfly


Marbled White Melanargia galathea

Despite its name this is related to the "Browns". This specimen of the Marbled White was photographed on Bownham Common. Peak time for observation is July, but it can be seen from the middle of June through to the beginning of August.


 Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja

Photographed on Rodborough Common. The name comes from the distinct green hue on the underside of the wings which also show silver spots. However, all our photographs seems to have captured the butterfly with wings wide open.

Dark Green Fritillary - front view

Dark Green Fritillary - rear view

Other Nymphalidae

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui

Most likely seen mid to late Summer when it migrates in from the Continent. Painted Lady

Peacock Aglais io

We have seen these on our local commons, but our best local photograph - from Bownham Common - just shows the rather dark underside of the wings (which provides excellent camouflage when the butterfly rests against tree bark and dark stones. The upper wing surface was captured on a walk near Sapperton.

You can see these in April when they emerge from hibernation, then again in August when the next brood hatches (which then hibernates over the winter). However, they can emerge from hibernation whenever it gets suitably warm.

Peacock butterfly upper wing surface Peacock butterfly lower wing surface


Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae

This example was photographed on Bownham Common in April probably soon after emerging from hibernation. They have two broods each year, so can been seen almost anywhere up until September, when they are feeding up to prepare for over-wintering. Small Tortoiseshell