The Gatekeeper butterfly can be distinguished from the similar Meadow Brown by the two white spots in the “eye” of its wing, which is supposed to distract predators away from its vulnerable body. The latter only has one spot. The female’s upper wing is bright orange apart from the eye and brown edging; the male’s is crossed with a dark band of scent glands. They have relatively short proboscises which may explain why they are partial to the small florets of goldenrod.
I was honoured to spend some time with this little creature. It convinced me to plant a tuber of goldenrod in a dry patch in my own garden which wouldn't have been my first choice before.
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