Arran Brown

Erebia ligea


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Erebia ligea

Switzerland, August 2013

Erebia ligea

Female, Switzerland, July 2017

Erebia ligea

Female, Switzerland, August 2013

Erebia ligea

Male, Switzerland, June 2015

Erebia ligea

The same male, Switzerland, June 2015

Erebia ligea

Male, Switzerland, June 2014

Erebia ligea

'Blind' male (wings open) with male large ringlet (I believe), Switzerland, July 2017

The next picture shows the same pair, in the same respective positions.

Erebia ligea

Switzerland, July 2017

Erebia ligea

Switzerland, August 2013

Erebia ligea

Male, Switzerland, June 2017

Erebia ligea

Female, Switzerland, July 2016

Switzerland, June 2005

Switzerland, July 2005

Switzerland, July 2007

Switzerland, August 2008

Erebia ligea distribution

Distribution

This is a common Erebia of woodland rides and sheltered, grassy clearings, often with bramble or bracken, on which the adults love to bask. Its English name reflects its alleged former presence on the Isle of Arran in Scotland. Certainly there exist historic specimens giving this as their provenance, but there is no undisputed evidence this was ever a British butterfly. In Switzerland, the first adults appear in June, with the main emergence in July, though as ever this depends upon altitude. In my local woods, this species always appears some weeks before the similar Scotch argus, which flies in many of the same places.

The Arran brown is a large, bold ringlet. The red bands on the upperside are complete on forewing and hindwing, and each usually contain three or four white-pupilled black eyespots. In my part of Switzerland, however, these eyespots are not infrequently blind, giving rise to potential confusion with the large ringlet. This latter, however, despite its name, is smaller, with less developed red bands on the upperside and usually smaller eyespots. In most places, the eyespots of large ringlet are blind, but in much of Switzerland form adyte, with white pupils flies, adding to the confusion with Arran brown. Fortunately, the undersides are distinct. Arran browns have a characteristic white 'paint splash' towards the costa of the hindwing, and at least three red-ringed eyespots on this wing too. The female large ringlet may have a vaguely similar white pattern, but it is set in a pale band and cross the whole wing, with a strong tooth in the middle. She has much weaker eyespots on the underside hindwing. The male large ringlet has at most a white tooth in the middle of the wing and quite inconspicuous eyespots. Arran brown, large ringlet and Scotch argus (principally the female) are the only ringlets to have an obviously chequered fringe.

Eggs are laid on sedges and the butterfly hibernates as an egg or small caterpillar. Arran browns fly in a single brood through until about the end of August.