Corsican Heath

Coenonympha corinna


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Sardinia, many years ago!

Coenonympha corinna distribution

Distribution

I used to do occasional tutoring in Sardinia and found this butterfly not uncommonly along roadsides. Sadly, I haven't been back for many years and only have the one picture, taken with my now deceased 35mm SLR. The species is also found on Corsica, Capraia, Elba and locally on the Tuscan coast. It seems not to have spread further into Italy though it might yet do this, as the jump to the mainland is itself quite recent, I believe.

Identification is not difficult. This is a tiny butterfly, much smaller than the small and pearly heaths, the only other Coenonympha species whose ranges overlap with it. It is pale beneath, with distinct eyespots and an irregular, cream line traversing the hindwing.

The Corsican heath flies grassy, rocky places and along tracks in two or more broods from May to August. It is the caterpillar that hibernates.