Silky Ringlet

Erebia gorge


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Switzerland, July 2013



Switzerland, July 2013



Switzerland, July 2013

Erebia gorge

Switzerland, June 2017

Erebia gorge

Switzerland, July 2015

Erebia gorge

Switzerland, July 2015



Switzerland, July 2013

Erebia gorge

Switzerland, July 2015

Erebia gorge

Switzerland, July 2015

Switzerland, July 2009

Switzerland, July 2009

Switzerland, July 2009

Erebia gorge distribution

Distribution

The silky ringlet is a high altitude species, rarely found below about 1800m and flying up to 3000m. As you climb a mountain, leaving lush semi-alpine meadows and bushes behind, this butterfly is often the indicator you have made it to the rarefied regions! Suddenly, they start appearing on the track ahead of you or disappearing over the rocks. Indeed, silky ringlets love rocks, for sitting on with wings closed or for basking. They are locally common in Switzerland and generally widespread in mountains in the southern half of Europe.

The upperside, as the name suggests, does often have a silky texture, but this is not always apparent and not a good identifying feature. This is a variable butterfly but all forms have broad, red bands - never spots - on the forewings. There may or may not be similar bands on the hindwings. There are typically two white-pupilled apical spots on each forewing, angled outward towards the costa. There may or may not be spots on the hindwing. The underside hindwing is roughly marbled, with a dark band across the middle of the wing - resembling a very dark version of a brassy ringlet. The hindwing is slightly pointed at v.5, but this is not always noticeable.

The larval foodplants are various alpine meadow grasses, fescues and hair grasses. The caterpillars hibernate twice, taking two seasonal cycles to complete their development, and the adults fly in a single brood from late June to August.