Fun Meadow Brown Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Meadow Brown Facts For Kids

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The meadow brown (Maniola jurtina) belongs to the order Lepidoptera and genus Maniola. The meadow brown is one of the most widely distributed species of butterfly found all over the world. It can be spotted in areas of the Palearctic realm, that is, in Eurasia that consists of Europe especially in England-Wales, northern Africa, and Asia north of the region. The butterfly can also be found in areas of Russia, and the Canary Islands.

The meadow brown has several similar species like the gatekeeper, small heath, dusky meadow brown, and others. These species can mostly be found in areas where there is less civilization and plenty of open grasslands, coastal dunes, hedgerows, woodland rides, and urban wastelands.

The brown meadow males are slightly darker and smaller than the female butterfly. All the other characteristics also vary for the Maniola jurtina depending on its sex.

Scroll down to read about the meadow brown life span, what they feed on, their habitat, and other exciting details! For more relatable content, check out these morpho butterfly facts and monarch butterfly facts for kids.

Fun Meadow Brown Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Do not prey

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

Univoltine (1 generation per year)

How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

2 in (5 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Dark brown wings with an orange patch

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Birds That Feed On Nectar

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Meadows, Gardens, Roadside Verges, Woodland Rides, Rough Grassy Places


North Africa, Europe, Iran, Russia, The Canary Islands, Iraq, Asia Minor









Meadow Brown Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a meadow brown?

The meadow brown (Maniola jurtina) is a species of butterfly that belongs to the phylum Arthropoda.

What class of animal does a meadow brown belong to?

The meadow brown (Maniola jurtina) butterfly belongs to the class Insecta.

How many meadow browns are there in the world?

There isn't an exact assessment of the number of Maniola jurtina all over the world but they can be found in abundance in range areas of Asia and Europe.

Where does a meadow brown live?

The meadow brown butterfly distribution can range from the Palearctic realm, that is, in Eurasia that consists of Europe especially in England-Wales, northern Africa, and Asia north of the region. The butterfly can also be found in areas of Russia, and the Canary Islands.

What is a meadow brown's habitat?

The meadow brown can often be found in many different types of grassy habitats such as open woodland rides, roadside verges, meadows, and gardens. Areas that have abundant plants and flowers are perfect for this butterfly to habitat in.

Who do meadow browns live with?

The meadow brown tends to stay in groups and more than often large groups of this butterfly species can be seen flying around looking for nectar from flowers.

How long does a meadow brown live?

The life span of a meadow brown isn't much. They are short-lived as they take a lot of time to emerge as adults and within the first four days, the female butterfly lays eggs. They survive for about 5-12 days.

How do they reproduce?

The meadow brown has a single brood and lays its eggs during flight or on the blade of grasses. The eggs are small and are of the color pale yellow with no spots. It becomes brownish-yellow and then matures into a purplish brown. After the eggs hatch within two to three weeks, the pupa comes out. It matures into a green caterpillar soon.

The growth rate of the caterpillar is very slow and after a long period of time when the caterpillar matures, it creates a chrysalis which is pale green in color and marked with brown spots on the wing covers. It suspends from a grass blade and out comes the meadow brown after three to four weeks. In this case, the male and female meadow brown have no responsibility to take care of the newborn and the caterpillar takes care of itself from the pupa to butterfly stage.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN Red list, the meadow brown is of Least Concern. This butterfly species is found in abundance all over the world.

Meadow Brown Fun Facts 

What does a meadow brown look like?

The meadow brown male is smaller and darker than the female butterfly. The upper wing of the male is a dark brown with a black eyespot centered white which looks like a white pupil, at the apex of the forewings. The forewings have an orange border with the same ocelli at the upper wing. They have one white pupil on their upper wing, unlike the gatekeeper which has two eyespots on their wings. The hind wings of the male are dark brown.

The female meadow brown butterflies on the other hand have a lighter brown shade than the male and have a black eyespot with an orange patch on the underside or hind of the wing. The markings on the females are far more prominent and darker than the male butterflies.

The larvae are green in color before it matures into a caterpillar. The caterpillar, before it forms the chrysalis, has a bright green in color body coated with white pale hairs. A black line divides it in the middle and the spiracle or hind is reddish in color. The anal points of the caterpillar are white.

The meadow brown has a black eyespot

How cute are they?

These butterflies are quite eye-catching and when seen in flocks can be very mesmerizing. Even though the meadow brown is not a match to the viceroy butterfly, they are no less beautiful. The female and male species can't be differentiated much when seen from afar and even though the female is more vibrant, both have a vibrant orange patch that makes them eye-catching.

How do they communicate?

Butterflies tend to communicate with each other through chemical cues - that is through each other's pheromones. The meadow brown isn't a big butterfly and therefore can't make noises and uses its body chemicals to communicate.

How big is a meadow brown?

The meadow brown is almost 2 in (5 cm) long. That makes it almost 9-12 times smaller than the horseshoe crab since it is almost 17.7-23.6 in (45-60 cm) long.

How fast can a meadow brown fly?

There isn't a certain speed that has been calculated, but the meadow brown is a small butterfly species and tends to fly slower due to its smaller wings. The male butterflies are much more active than the female butterflies and move around more.

How much does a meadow brown weigh?

There isn't substantial data on the weight of the meadow brown, but this butterfly species definitely doesn't weigh much.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for the male and female butterflies and are known as the meadow brown or Maniola jurtina.

What would you call a baby meadow brown?

The newborn meadow brown is born as a pupa and then matures into a caterpillar and therefore are called larvae or pupa, until they form the chrysalis to become a butterfly.

What do they eat?

The meadow brown adult tends to feed on bramble flowers, thistle, common ragworts, lavender, coneflowers, and so on. The caterpillars on the other hand feed on cock's foot (Dactylis), fescues, bents, and other meadow grasses.

Are they dangerous?

These butterflies are the least harmful animals present in the world and can never hurt anyone. This is what makes them quite vulnerable as humans tend to capture butterflies for amusement or they get preyed upon by birds like Anna's hummingbird and others too.

Would they make a good pet?

Butterflies are not exactly suitable to keep as pets. Being insects that survive in groups and feed on wildflowers and plants, they are more suitable to be left in the wild, rather than being forced to stay in rooms. Even though butterflies are bred nowadays to increase the number of endangered species, the meadow brown is still found in abundance and therefore shouldn't be confined.

Did you know...

The meadow brown is the most common species of butterfly present in the world. It's not endemic like the pipevine swallowtail which can only be found in Central and North America.

Where do meadow brown butterflies lay their eggs?

The meadow brown tends to lay singular eggs on the blade of grasses or just drop an egg during flight on the blades of grasses. Butterflies don't make any particular nests and when the eggs hatch, caterpillars come out that feed on grass and other plants by themselves.

Does the meadow brown migrate?

The female meadow brown adults are comparatively more inactive than the male butterfly and don't move around as much as the male butterfly. Being migrant butterflies their distribution is almost all over the world. They tend to migrate most before the mating season and come back after the summer sets in.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our mouse spider fun facts and rhinoceros beetle surprising facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable common Jezebel butterfly coloring pages.

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