This species is allegedly widespread but very local in the
Switzerland, Italy, Bavaria and Austria. I suspect it might be commoner
than it is sometimes given credit for being, as it is a species you
have to make an effort to identify and it generally flies in the
company of several other similar species. Nevertheless, I have made the
effort on many occasions and only confirmed Eriphyle ringlet on a few
of them. These have been on rather overgrown corners of hillsides,
often with rhododendron and other shrubs.
In size and general appearance it is similar to the lesser mountain ringlet, Erebia melampus.
Given a good view, however (a big 'given', with this very mobile
species!), the latter is easily distinguished by the more complete
series of black dots in the red on both surfaces of the wings. The
Eriphyle ringlet typically has just two dots near the apex of the
forewing - sometimes absent - and no dots on the hindwing, upperside or
underside. In the eastern Alps, form tristis
is slightly better marked, but never so much as the lesser mountain
ringlet. Closer in detail of markings is the male yellow-spotted
ringlet. Points to look for to confirm Eriphyle are the discrete spots
on the underside (and upperside) hindwing, which are often fused into a
band in yellow-spotted, and the prominent spot in s.4 of the upperside
hindwing - distinctly larger than any other spots present on that
surface, and often appearing isolated. The underside forewing of
Eriphyle ringlet has an orange flush extending to the base of the wing.
The larval foodplants are sweet vernal grass and tufted hair grass. The
caterpillars hibernate twice - the first time while small or even in
the egg - so full development takes two season. Adults emerge in June
or early July, depending on altitude, and fly until early August.