Gavarnie Ringlet

Erebia gorgone


HOME

Male, Val d'Aran, July 2011



Male, Val d'Aran, July 2011

Male, Val d'Aran, July 2011



Male, Val d'Aran, July 2011



Female, Val d'Aran, July 2011



Female, Val d'Aran, July 2011

Female ovipositing, Val d'Aran, July 2001 (video frame)

Erebia gorgone distribution

Distribution

The Gavarnie ringlet is a Pyrenean endemic, found rather locally from 1500m to 2450m according to Tolman, though I have only seen it above 2000m. It is a butterfly of rough, grassy slopes and screes, most often seen individually, even where common, rather than gathering in groups as many Erebia do.

Males are very distinctive from above. The conspicuous, dark sex brand and the red post-discal band reaching in towards the cell combine to make an instantly recognisable pattern. There is a broad red band on the hindwing too, and strong, white-pupilled eyespots within the band on forewing and hindwing. The underside of the hindwing is dark with a rough texture. The female is similar, but without the sex brand, so looks much less special. Her underside, however, is distinctive, with prominent white veins crossing the rough-textured, grey and brown banding. On the wing, both sexes look similar to the Piedmont ringlet, with which this species often flies.

The adults emerge in mid-July and fly into August. I have been at a good site in early July and seen none. The caterpillars feed on various grasses and it is this stage that hibernates. None of my books indicate whether development takes one seasonal cycle or two.