The male upperside is velvety black when fresh and fading to sooty-brown as it ages. It has two eyespots on each wing but these are so indistinct they are hardly noticeable. The female upperside is always sooty-brown with two or three eyespots. The undersides of both sexes have distinct yellow-ringed eyespots. Wingspan 50mm.
The caterpillars feed on numerous grasses.
The adults fly June to August, and can be found in grassy places, hedgerows, woodland rides and clearings. Resident and widespread.
Photographs taken June 2007 and July 2010 in local field, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman.