This is an exceptionally 'bright-eyed' ringlet from the
Pyrenees. It is an unusual form.
This is one of the earlier ringlets, emerging on my local mountain at about 1800m in mid-June, when it is the only Erebia species,
and remaining on the wing until the beginning of August. It is
particularly associated with relatively damp areas of long grass, and
will often be found among the grasses, though males will also gather at
minerals along tracks and stream beds.
It is the underside that most deserves the name 'bright-eyed'. Even in
weakly marked individuals, the spots seem to wink at you. The upperside
is very variable, ranging in the male from almost all dark, with a hint
of reddish containing blind apical eyespots (quite common in the Swiss
subspecies, lugens), to well marked, with full bands and white-pupilled eyespots. The last picture above - a frame from an old video - shows form pacula, an exceptionally 'bright-eyed' form which can apparently turn up in any population.
The larvae use a great variety of grasses
and sedges, including meadow grasses, fescues, quaking grasses and
purple moor grass. The caterpillar hibernates, either once or twice,
depending on altitude, so in some cases development takes two seasonal