Chestnut Heath / Staudinger's Chestnut Heath

Coenonympha glycerion / iphioides


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Switzerland, July 2013



Switzerland, July 2013

Coenonympha glycerion

Switzerland, July 2016

Coenonympha glycerion

Switzerland, July 2016

Coenonympha glycerion

Switzerland, July 2016

French Jura, June 2008

French Jura, June 2008

French Jura, June 2008

French Jura, June 2008

French Jura, June 2008

Coenonympha glycerion

Distribution

The status of the Iberian taxon Coenonympha iphioides is controversial, with some authors treating it as a subspecies of glycerion and others as a species in its own right. There is a region of overlap and contact in the Eastern Pyrenees. In general, the chestnut heath is widespread in Europe but local - I have only encountered it at two sites, both in the Jura, one in France and one in Switzerland. It is a butterfly of damp or dry grassland, at damp sites often flying in company with large heaths.

There is considerable variation, both geographical and within a single population, most obviously in the prominence of the hindwing spotting. In some individuals, like the third one illustrated above, this is vestigial (or even absent), while in others, like the first, it is bold and conspicuous. The spots are particularly strong and regular in iphioides. The best identifying feature is the white 'badge' in the middle of the underside hindwing, which may or may not have a smaller white patch beneath it. The badge is present, but small and largely obscured by the postdiscal spots, in iphioides.

Several different grasses are used as foodplants, including bromes, quaking grasses and others. The caterpillars hibernate and the adults fly in a single generation from June to August.