Dusky Meadow Brown

Hyponephele lycaon


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Switzerland, July 2012

Hyponephele lycaon

Female, Italy, July 2014

Female, Switzerland, July 2006

Female, Switzerland, July 2006

Female, Switzerland, July 2006

Male, Switzerland, July 2006

Female, Switzerland, July 2006

Male (I think), Switzerland, July 2006

The dusky meadow brown is found in most of Spain and also quite widely in Eastern Europe. Between these two it occurs in a narrow band across the South of France, Switzerland and Hungary. It flies in hot, rocky places and I have seen it in several places along the Rhône Valley, sometimes in small numbers, sometimes, as in July 2006, in large colonies. The female of this species is easily separated from the meadow brown, Maniola jurtina, to which it is closely related, by the presence of two conspicuous spots on the forewings instead of just one, though beware - she often hides the lower one when the wings are closed. The male generally has just one spot but has a more orange upperside than the meadow brown, suffused fuscous and with a very prominent sex brand. Both of them, when fresh, however, may be distinguished by the dark line running down the outer side of the forewing, just inside the submarginal grey.

In great heat this butterfly behaves rather like a grayling species, rather than a meadow brown, finding overhangs in rock faces or beneath shady plants on rock faces. I tried to photograph some doing this but they seemed hyper-alert in this condition!