Gatekeeper Butterfly

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Animal diversity - Gatekeeper Butterfly nectaring on Bell Heather

These resident butterflies are strongly associated with woodland.  They can be seen  in sheltered grassy areas in the vicinity of woodland and similar places such as country lanes and scrub.  The adults are on the wing from July  through to September.

The caterpillars feed on various grasses including Couch and Red Fescue. These grasses are discouraged by intensive grassland farming.   This and the loss of hedgerows has resulted in this butterfly going into decline.   Although it is more common in the south of England it is absent from Scotland. The caterpillars are nocturnal and hibernate in winter.

Picture from the Woodland Education Centre.

Find out more about butterflies here.