Maniola jurtina | Meadow Brown | Donnóg fhéir

Pre 2017

2017 - 2021


Conservation status

Ireland: Least Concern (Regan et al., 2010)
Europe: Least Concern (van Swaay et al., 2010)
Climate risk category: Potential Climate Change Risk; present distribution in Europe can be explained by climate to only a limited extent (Settele et al., 2008)

Legal status

The Meadow Brown is not afforded legal protection in Ireland.

Native status


Species Biology


Key identification features include:

  • Medium size, wingspan: 40 - 60 mm
  • Two-toned grey-brown colouration on the underside of the hind wing, lacking any eyespots
  • One apical eye-spot and orange patch on upper- and underside of forewing


Generalist, found on: unimproved dry grassland, wet grassland, improved grassland, coastal grey dunes, machair, dune slacks, field margins and urban parks. The adults usually roost relatively low in grasses and fly in grassland of a wide range of heights, but basking occurs only intermittently (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Flight period

Univoltine: from May to September. Lack of synchronisation in larval development results in a prolonged flight season.

Life cycle

Eggs are laid singly on grass-blades but also often on dead vegetation or other nearby material. Several eggs are laid in a single bout on grass blades that can be quite close together. They then feed on the grass-blades from late September, with only partial winter diapause, until about the beginning of the following June. They feed by day until about March, after which they then feed after dusk, possibly partly as a result of the activities of insectivorous birds. When not feeding the larvae retreat to the bases of grass tussocks. Pupation occurs about the beginning of June, with the pupae hanging downwards attached to a silken pad on grass-stems or blades (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Food plants

Generalist, the larvae feed on a variety of grasses, but more commonly on Meadow-grasses (Poa spp.), Bent-grasses (Agrostis spp.) and Tufted-grasses (Lolium  spp.).

Flowers visited

Generalist, adult nectar sources commonly include Knapweeds (Centaurea spp.) and Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.), but Bramble (Rubus fruticosus), Buttercups (Ranunculus spp.), Carline Thistle (Carlina vulgaris), Devil's-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis), Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum), Knapweeds (Centaurea spp.), Marjoram (Origanum vulgare), Privet (Ligustrum vulgare), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris), Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum), Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) are also used.


World distribution(GBIF)

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2021

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.



Bond, K.G.M. and Gittings, T. 2008. Database of Irish Lepidoptera. 1 - Macrohabitats, microsites and traits of Noctuidae and butterflies. Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 35. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin, Ireland.

Regan, E.C., Nelson, B., Aldwell, B., Bertrand, C., Bond, K., Harding, J., Nash, D., Nixon, D. and Wilson, C.J. 2010. Ireland Red List No. 4 – Butterflies. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Ireland.

Settele, J., Kudrna, O., Harpke, A., Kühn, I., Van Swaay, C., Verovnik, R., Warren, M.S., Wiemers, M., Hanspach, J., Hickler, T. and Kühn, E. 2008. Climatic risk atlas of European butterflies. Sofia-Moscow: Pensoft.

Van Swaay, C., Cuttelod, A., Collins, S., Maes, D., López Munguira, M., Šašic, M., Settele, J., Verovnik, R., Verstrael, T., Warren, M., Wiemers, M. and Wynhof, I. 2010. European Red List of Butterflies. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.