Butterflies & moths to look for in August — Gatekeeper Butterfly

Gatekeeper Butterfly
Photo credit: Duerden Cormack

Where to look

To see one, look in tall grass close to hedges, trees or scrub, or anywhere with Bramble flowers, which are one of its favourite nectar sources. The adults don’t fly for very long and most have gone by the end of August. In warm, dry summers they can be seen in greater numbers.


The gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) is also commonly known as the hedge brown, but over the last 300 years has been recorded as many other names including the Hedge Eye with Double Specks! Their modern name probably comes from their habit of fluttering in gateways and hedgerows, with the male making small territories. 
The males and females look similar, but the males have a dark brown smudgy line on their forewings known as an androconica or ‘sex brand’. These patches are made up of special wing scales from which chemicals called pheromones are released to attract females. In many other species, the sex brand of the male can’t be seen.
 For more info see https://butterfly-conservation.org/butterflies/gatekeeper


“Think this must be a male from its markings.”

Where we've found Gatekeeper Butterflies

Gatekeeper Butterfly spottings journal (4 seen)

Last seen Location Spotted by Group Notes
31 Jan 2024 Stroud Valleys Project
22 Aug 2022 Stroud Valleys Project
21 Jul 2021 Hamwell Leaze Tamsin Stroud Valleys Project Think this must be a male from its markings.
14 Jul 2020 QE2 field stroud Tamsin Stroud Valleys Project


Stroud Valleys Project is a limited company registered in England and Wales
Registered number: 2224016
Registered charity number: 900107

Stroud Valleys Project
8 Threadneedle Street

  01453 763358
  Email us