A dull dark brown upper wing, with pale orange patches visible on some of these butterflies, together with a black spot encircling a white centre resembling an eye in the corner of each forewing. At rest, with wings closed, the lower hindwing is a dusky brown. There may be local differences in pattern or colour. The caterpillar when full grown has a dark green stripe along each side of its bright green body; it has white hair and white tails.
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Absent from the Shetlands, the Meadow Brown is common in most parts of the British Isles with the exception of higher ground levels.
Lush, grassy and sheltered spots are the areas where this butterfly may be spotted, including verges and hedgerows, cliffs and woodland glades. It rarely ventures into cultivated gardens, preferring to remain close to its breeding sites.
A wide range of grasses is used. Those with finer leaves such as fescues, bents, and meadow-grasses are preferred, but some coarser species such as Cock's-foot, Downy Oat-grass, and False Brome are also eaten by larger larvae. Other species of grass are also believed to be used.
A common butterfly throughout the British Isles, although as with many species, changes in agricultural practice has destroyed some colonies. UK BAP status: not listed Butterfly Conservation priority: low European threat status: not threatened