Eriphyle Ringlet

Erebia eriphyle


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Erebia eriphyle

Switzerland, July 2013

Erebia eriphyle

Switzerland, July 2007

Erebia eriphyle

Switzerland, July 2007

Erebia eriphyle

Switzerland, July 2007

Switzerland (Vaud), July 2007

Switzerland (Valais), July 2006

Switzerland (Valais), July 2006

Eerbia eriphyle distribution

Distribution

This species is allegedly widespread but very local in the Alps of 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.