Scarce Heath (Coenonympha hero)

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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.

15739_male_Doubs_04Jun09

15761_female_Doubs_04Jun09

An increasingly rare butterfly of the wetlands. It now occurs in very few places in France, and its future existence is threatened by the continued destruction of its habitat, despite the fact that the butterfly itself is protected. It is a beautiful butterfly for which photographs can only just begin to do it justice. I am indebted to Philippe Bricaire for the information on its location, without which I could have searched for the next million years without success. In the location I visited, they were numerous, maybe 200+ individuals flying. The males had been emerged for some time, as can be seen from the wear on 15739, although the females were fresher and 15761 was typical.

The males were highly active, flying almost non-stop and being very difficult to approach, and I had to wait for a cloudy spell to get this shot of 15739. The females were less active but still hard to approach. In the wetland habitat, I was reluctant to venture into the marshy areas and had to settle for photographs of individuals that came close to the tracks.

 

The male is appreciably darker than the female, so the sexes are quite easy to identify in the field.

 
ref sex

observations

alt. m
15739 M

a rather worn male, the dark orange-ringed ocelli almost merging with the deep chestnut brown ground colour.

860
15761 F

a relatively fresh female, fabulous large strong bright orange-ringed ocelli, strong orange margins and a perfect silver submarginal band. Perfect!

860

 

15739_male_Doubs_04Jun09

 

15761_female_Doubs_04Jun09