Alpine Heath (Coenonympha gardetta)

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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.

12180_sex?_Hautes-Alpes_8Jul08  12194_sex?_Hautes-Alpes_8Jul08  13427_sex?_Valais, Switzerland_20Jul08
17740_sex?_Hautes-Alpes_10Jul09 21946_sex?_Hautes-Alpes_11Jul10 36431_sex?_Valais, Switzerland_20Jul14

Gardetta is an altitude specialist occurring mostly at altitudes over 1500m, and although I have usually encountered it only in small numbers, sometimes it is very common above 2000m. It is relatively easy to identify, in France at least, because the black rings are very bold and (usually) all inside the white band.

It has the characteristic silver unh submarginal band most apparent in fresh specimens. There is, however, scope for confusion between gardetta and the Darwin's Heath (C. darwiniana) and the key differences are addressed on the darwiniana page.
ref sex

observations

alt. m
12180 ?

the unh is quite orange except in the basal area, the unf is quite a warm orange not quite extending to the apex.

1990
12194 ?

mildly orange but not warm, the white band is narrow and dentate and the ocelli are ringed yellow.

1990
13427 ?

very similar to 12180, maybe not quite as orange.

2200
17740 ?

this, in my opinion, is classic gardetta. The ocelli are large and strongly black, the ocelli are all nicely within the white band, and the unh ground colour is dark greyish.

2100
21946 ?

a strong warm brown-orange colour for the unf, showing how gardetta can be very appealing when fresh. The unf ground colour is rather more chestnut brown than orange.

2010
36341 M? the slightly offset forewings allow a glimpse of the forewing upperside. The apparent absence of orange in the post-discal region suggests that this is a male, because the female tends to have rather more orange on the upperside extending to the visible area. 2090

 

12180_sex?_Hautes-Alpes_8Jul08

 

12194_sex?_Hautes-Alpes_8Jul08

 

13427_sex?_Valais, Switzerland_20Jul08

 

17740_sex?_Hautes-Alpes_10Jul09

 

21946_sex?_Hautes-Alpes_11Jul10

 

36431_sex?_Valais, Switzerland_20Jul14