Dewy Ringlet

Erebia pandrose


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Erebia pandrose

Male, Switzerland, July 2019

Erebia pandrose

Male, Switzerland, July 2019

Erebia pandrose

Switzerland, July 2015

Erebia pandrose

Female, Switzerland, July 2016

Erebia pandrose

Male, Switzerland, July 2016

Erebia pandrose

Switzerland, July 2015

Erebia pandrose

Switzerland, July 2016

Erebia pandrose

Switzerland, June 2017



Switzerland, May 2011



Switzerland, July 2010



Switzerland, July 2009

Switzerland, June 2007

Erebia pandrose distribution

Distribution

This distinctive ringlet is one of the first high-altitude butterflies to appear, flying as early as May in snowless years on my mountain, at 1900m. More usually, it appears in June and flies through till the beginning of August. It is a widespread species, typically found near the snowline - which means up to 3000m in the south, or up to about 1200m in Scandinavia. I find it on slopes with short grass and often bushes (Vaccinium, juniper &c.), often at the upper end of gullies or on local plateaus - always something you have to climb up to. It is a wary butterfly, flying at the first sign of approach, then usually bobbing around for some considerable distance before dropping to the ground again, just out of sight - repeat ad nauseam! It does love basking on rocks and other warm surfaces, though, when a cautious approach can yield photos.

The dewy ringlet is easy to identify, except in the small region of the Pyrenees where it overlaps with the false dewy ringlet. Its bouncy flight, revealing the silver-grey underside, always seems to be sideways - a curious illusion, I think, rather than the reality. It is a weak flight but can go on for ages as the butterfly dithers and meanders over a hillside. The red bands on the forewing upperside are defined by zig-zag dark lines and contain four blind spots, ringed in a slightly clearer shade of red. The spots on the hindwing are narrowly ringed but not set in a red band. The whole pattern is instantly recognisable. The similar false dewy ringlet, a Pyrenean endemic, lacks the dark defining lines on the forewing.

The caterpillars feed on fescues, meadow grasses and hair grasses, hibernating twice to complete their development in two seasonal cycles.