What's the difference between
a gatekeeper butterfly and a small heath butterfly?

What's the difference between small heath butterflies and gatekeeper butterflies?

  • Small heath butterflies (Coenonympha pamphilus) and gatekeeper butterflies (Pyronia tithonus) are both essential light brown butterflies with orange patches.

  • Small heath tend to be found on dry grassy areas with gatekeepers being found in similar areas close to headgerows or scrub.

  • Gatekeeper butterflies are small, with a wing span of around 35mm with small heaths around 5mm wider.

  • While patterning on both can be a little variable - differing patches of oarnge on the brown, the number of white spots on the black circles remains constant. Small heaths have just one white spot, while gatekeepers have two.