Common Brown Butterfly (Heteronympha merope) Male

A male Common Brown Butterfly briefly rests between mating and feeding.

I’m only beginning to look at butterflies from an identification perspective, so here is one to start me off – the Common Brown Butterfly.

It seems the air is alive with butterflies at the moment – tumbling, paired butterflies – and each time I put my foot down when walking through grass, I seem to disturb at least one of them.  This is because I am trying to identify native grasses, and the Common Brown Butterfly lays eggs on native grasses.  Also, the Xanthorrhoea (grass trees) are flowering again, with their strikingly large flower spikes. Each one seems to host numerous butterflies.  More on that soon.

I can see that butterfly spotting will have its complexities!. For starters, it is necessary to get close enough to the butterfly to capture an image of open wings.  Easier said than done for two reasons. Firstly, they seem very sensitive to movement and take off at the slightest shadow moving, let alone me. Secondly, when they find a place to rest, they close their wings.  I spent quite a bit of time standing motionless near a flower spike, hoping and waiting.  This did pay off, but was very time-consuming. I also had some success with bark, as the one above demonstrates.

The butterfly in the photograph above is a male.  Females have different markings on their wings.  If I can photograph a female Common Brown Butterfly I will post it up so you can see the difference. They look so different, if I didn’t have my field guide with me, I would think they were different species.




6 thoughts on “Common Brown Butterfly (Heteronympha merope) Male

  1. Amazing! I have Yellow Admiral host plants awaiting for nest season, I hope I’ll plant some native grass for the common brown too!

  2. That’s great! I don’t know all of the grasses we have, but I know we have a few species of wallaby grass, some kangaroo grass, several species of spear grass, and some exotic species such as sweet vernal grass and others I am still trying to identify. Good luck with your butterflies.

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