False Mnestra Ringlet (Erebia aethiopella)

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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.

26995_male_Hautes-Alpes_12Jul11

21938_male_Hautes-Alpes_11Jul10

33486_male_Hautes-Alpes_8Jul13
21930_male_Hautes-Alpes_11Jul10 22003_male_Hautes-Alpes_12Jul10 30779_male_Hautes-Alpes_7Jul12

A small and rather rare Erebia of high altitudes. It is unusual in that it is the only butterfly solely endemic to the southern Alpes. With the benefit of an upperside and an underside shot, it can be identified with some degree of certainty from it close cousins.

I chanced upon it for the first time in 2010, two males in a high damp gulley in the Hautes-Alpes. In 2011 I found it in three locations, two being over 2350m, and since then in several other locations in the region. The lower end of its altitude range is 1800m.
ref sex

observations

alt. m
26995 M a male, posing very obligingly. 2010
21938 M

a male, taking a break from taking salts from some indeterminate substance to enjoy some sun and very thoughtfully posing open for the camera.

2010
33486 M a male. I am coming to the conclusion that this pose is relatively normal for this species. 2010
21930 M

a male, taking salts from some unhealthy-looking crotte. The unh post-discal band is virtually non-existent c.f. 22003 and the illustration in T&L where this band is quite clearly contrasted.

2010
22003 M

a male, not the same as 21930 as can be seen from the rather stronger unh post-discal band here. A Grisons Fritillary (Melitaea varia) can just be seen on the left.

2010
30779 M a male settling in dull weather with the forewing tucked down. The unh is typically rather speckled and the discal line is clear with the post-discal band being better defined (relatively) than many other individuals. 2550

 

26995_male_Hautes-Alpes_12Jul11

 

21938_male_Hautes-Alpes_11Jul10

 

33486_male_Hautes-Alpes_8Jul13

 

21930_male_Hautes-Alpes_11Jul10

 

22003_male_Hautes-Alpes_12Jul10

 

30779_male_Hautes-Alpes_7Jul12