Contents ] SpeckledWood ] WallBrown ] Grayling ] [ Gatekeeper ] MeadowBrown ] Ringlet ] SmallHeath ] LargeHeath ] 

gatekeeper   <>  pyronia tithonus   <>   geatóir  


© DHardiman 2002   

Habitat:  The Gatekeeper has a very coastal distribution from Co. Wicklow to Co. Kerry.  Older records for Co. Dublin and Nth. Kerry need reconfirmation.
It is single brooded.
Larval Food Plant:   Wide range of grasses including -
                                              Fescues  Festuca spp.
                                              Bents  Agrostis spp.
Flight Time:   Late July to early September
Hibernation:   Overwinters as a larva.
The male has a conspicuous dark brown curved band of androconial scales on each forewing .
Both sexes have twin-pupilled white eye spots on the upperside of each forewing and white pupils on the underside of each hindwings.


Female Gatekeeper butterfly





                                                                                    Life Cycle of  the


The almost spherical egg is flattened at top and base and pale yellow with orange mottling.  It is c.0.6 mm tall.
The eggs are laid singly on blades and stems of grass in July and August, hatching in c.20 days.


  © DHardiman 2009 


Larva:    The rather stout adult larva is between 23-26 mm in length and tapers towards the rear.  There are two colour
forms.  One with the body a light green with a darker green mediodorsal line,  the other pale ochreous with a  
dark brown mediodorsal line.  Both have a dark-edged white band extending along both sides below the level
of  the spiracles. The head is  bilobed and always pink-ochreous.  The short anal points are ochreous.

The newly hatched larva eats its eggshell and after feeds by day on various species of grass until October,
when it enters hibernation.  It overwinters low down among the grasses until the spring when it resumes 
feeding and maturation.   After overwintering, the larva  feeds this time by night and is fully fed by early July.

  © DHardiman 2005 


Pupation takes place aroung the end of  June or early July when a silk  pad  is spun by the larva on vegetation 
close to the ground.  Cremasteral hooks are absent but the pupa is suspended from the pad by prong-tipped hairs  
arising from the cast larval skin which remains attached to the lower abdomen.  This stage lasts c.3 weeks.


The adult emerges and is on the wing from late July to early September.  Many species of  flowers are visited 
for nectar, especially brambles (Rubus spp.).



 Contents ]

 SpeckledWood ] WallBrown ] Grayling ] [ Gatekeeper ] MeadowBrown ] Ringlet ] SmallHeath ] LargeHeath ] 

Hesperidae ] Pieridae ] Lycaenidae ] Nymphalidae ] Satyridae ] Migrants ] .