Large Ringlet (Erebia euryale)
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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.
This is quite superficially similar to, but usually (despite its name) smaller than, the Arran Brown (E. ligea) - see the ligea page for a comparison of features. The ocelli are either very small, usually blind, or even just pin-pricks, in the nominate form, but in the subspecies adyte the ocelli can be quite well developed, especially in the female.
T&L records adyte occurring in southern Switzerland although I feel that I encounter only this subspecies in the French Alpes. I strongly suspect that all of the photographs on this page are adyte.
H&R says that adyte replaces the nominate form in south-eastern France and I believe this to be true; it also says that the nominate form occurs in France in the Pyrénées and the Massif Central. On checking my records, I find I don't have any photographs of the nominate form, and in fact don't have any records of ever seeing it.
In the nominate form, the upf red post-discal bands are more separated into individual red marks, with pin-prick black ocelli. Also, in the female of the nominate form, the underside is lighter, especially in the post-discal region, giving clear contrast across this line.
The red upf post-discal band of adyte is more "solid" in appearance and often noticeably constricted at s3 where it is straight-edged on both sides and cut by the veins both above and below. The upf ocelli can vary from blind (i.e. no white centres) to quite pronounced as in 26535. The fringes are chequered, so the only other Erebia species it could be confused with is ligea, as no other Erebia species in France has chequered fringes.
This is a very variable species, even within the same locality, as indicated by the comments below. I have found it to be very common, often occurring in large numbers in both France and Switzerland. In 2010 I chanced upon over a hundred euryale puddling in one small spot. Often in these large groups, euryale is the only species puddling; they don't appear to be very sociable with other Erebia species.
it is puddling, so I had assumed it to be a male, but the body shape looks decidedly female. I am sure all the other euryale puddling there were males, as the undersides were visible.
this may possibly be a male of the nominate form. The illustration of the nominate form male as shown in T&L does not resemble anything I have seen in France or Switzerland. It may be the nominate form because the ocelli are fairly small and blind, but the red post-discal band is wide and strong, so adyte is more likely.
a typical male of the subspecies adyte.
a male, taking salts. The strong red upf post-discal band and bright ocelli initially suggested a Piedmont Ringlet (E. meolans) as did the darkness and strong ocelli of the underside, although the chequered fringes ruled this out. It is adyte and has very bright ocelli, looking unlike the illustrations (even of adyte) given in most books.
|26535||M||a male, with a rather wide post-discal red band of almost constant width. The ocelli are rather large and somewhat flattened. The margins are generally quite dark, almost to the point of not being chequered. The other two in shot illustrate the variability of the band.||1400|
|27061||M||a typical euryale, with almost blind ocelli and very clearly chequered fringes.||2020|
|41314||M||a male, quite typical in terms of markings, but very fresh and clear chequered margins.||1960|
|35941||F||a female, quite fresh and very clearly chequered fringes.||1990|
a male, on the basis of the absence of any white markings on the unh.
a mating pair, female above, quite dark but showing the classic euryale dentate markings but with no ocelli. The male unh is almost unmarked.
|41361||F||a freshly emerged female, drying her wings before her maiden flight.||1960|
|41643||GROUP||a section of a very large group of euryale on the side of a bridge. Quite why they were all congregated there, given that it was dry and presumably impossible to extract any salts, is a mystery.||2170|