Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

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2016 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

27455_male_Hautes-Alpes_16Jul11 04_355-18_female_Herts, UK_11Jul04 11691_female_Alpes-Maritimes_28Jun08
 
33198_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_1Jul13 41054_pair_Hautes-Alpes_8Jul16  

Slightly confusingly named in that it is not part of the genus Erebia which are also known as Ringlets. There are two true Erebia Ringlets that occur in the UK, but only in the north of England and in Scotland, the Scotch Argus (Erebia aethiops) and the Mountain Ringlet (Erebia epiphron), but some forty or so Erebia cousins in Europe where they are generally restricted to the mountainous areas of the Alpes, Pyrénées and the Massif Central. Hyperantus is the only European representative of the genus Aphantopus.

Hyperantus is an attractive chocolate-brown with yellow-ringed underside ocelli and is considerably more attractive than many of its scarcer cousins. I rarely see it in France as it does not seem to occur in southern Var (Lafranchis France shows it occurring in Var, but this may be in the north).

The sexes are rather similar, although from an upperside view, the female tends to have larger ocelli. From an underside view, the ground colour of the female tends to be a lighter brown; this is subjective of course, but the contrast can be seen from the pair in copula in 41054 below. Also, the female hindwing tends to be a little rounder at the anal angle and the margin slightly more scalloped.

 

There is also a species known as the False Ringlet (Coenonympha oedippus), which is very rare and is actually a member of the Coenonympha Heath genus but has a series of unh yellow-ringed ocelli and does look rather like hyperantus; until 2015, I had only seen oedippus on one occasion in 1998 when I took a rather poor photograph and it was only several years later that I realised it was not hyperantus but oedippus - a great opportunity missed.

ref sex

observations

alt. m
27455 M a male, as indicated by the smaller ocelli. 1330
04_355-18 F

a female, as indicated by the larger ocelli and the shorter and fatter body shape.

90
11691 F

I think this is a female based on the lighter ground colour, the paler submarginal band, the more pronounced ocelli, and the rounded hindwing shape, although I would have expected slightly more scalloping.

1080
33198 F I believe this to be a female for much the same reasons as 11691. 1100
41054 PAIR a pair in copula. I would assume that the female is on the left, based on the lighter colouring. They were sitting on a road, albeit a little used road, in the Hautes-Alpes, so after taking the photograph, they were shepherded to a safer spot. 1490

 

27455_male_Hautes-Alpes_16Jul11

 

04_355-18_female_Herts, UK_11Jul04

 

11691_female_Alpes-Maritimes_28Jun08

 

33198_female_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_1Jul13

 

41054_pair_Hautes-Alpes_8Jul16