Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Images 1,2,3, contributed by U.K photographer Bill Edwards.
Images 4,5,6,7 contributed by U.K. photographer Deborah Lovell.
Also known as the Hedge Brown.
The Gatekeeper is Indigenous to England, Wales and Ireland
This butterfly is often encountered where groups of flowers grow in gateways and along hedgerows and field edges.
It is often spotted together with the Meadow Brown and Ringlet, from which it is very easily distinguished.
It is somewhat unusual in that it nectars with open wings.
A similar species in appearance is the Meadow Brown.
The two species are difficult to distinguish with closed wings, since the ventral markings are similar.
However, the Gatekeeper rests with its wings open, while the Meadow Brown typically rests with its wings closed.
The Gatekeeper is also smaller and more orange and has double pupils on its eyespots.
The male also has a dark patch on the upper side of the fore wing that contains scent-producing scales called the androconia.
They are most likely for courtship purposes.
The color and patterns of the wings variable.
About a dozen variations have been identified.
Females typically have more spots than males.
Male's eyespots are more costally placed compared to the females, whose eyespots are spread over the entire wing.
The Gatekeeper rests on vegetation during overcast or hazy sunshine conditions.
In sunny weather, it flies from flower to flower gathering nectar. It is a relatively active butterfly, but not particularly mobile, as seen when comparing it to a similar species, Maniola jurtina.