Silky ringlet (Erebia gorge)

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2018 photographs highlighted in green. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

13247_male_Valais, Switzerland_19Jul08 13254_male_Valais, Switzerland_19Jul08 44781_female_Alpes-Maritimes_22Jul17

A very variable high-altitude Erebia species, with several distinctive but very different forms. I first saw gorge in 2007, then a life-tick, but there were many more at the same site in 2008. However, according to T&L, the nominate form occurs in Switzerland, where both of the above males were seen, and has twin small upf ocelli, whereas 13247 has only one. However, I cannot see what else it could be if not gorge, and Erebia ocelli are notoriously variable.

The subspecies erynis is similar but has no ocelli and occurs (according to H&R) in the southern French Alpes and the Alpes-Maritimes. However, this species is highly variable, so no real conclusions can be drawn from a limited example.
ref sex


alt. m
13247 M

a male, with a single ocellus and a dark appearance, although brassy at the margins.

13254 M

a male underside, highly variegated making for good camouflage. The photograph looks out of focus, but isn't.

44781 F I saw this heavily gravid female at the same location where several Sooty Ringlets (E. pluto) were flying and it originally seemed to me that it was likely to be a female pluto. However, it was in a region where nominate pluto occurred where the female is, according to the T&L illustrations, slightly less dark than the male but largely unmarked except for a pale and just discernible unf red post-discal band. 44781 did not seem be even close to the T&L illustration for nominate pluto, but it did seem a better match for the pluto subspecies oreas, except that oreas only flies in the northern French Alpes in Haute-Savoie, so on the grounds of geography, it cannot be oreas. I had not originally considered gorge, even though it was known to fly in this location. On consulting H&R and T&L, the gorge subspecies erynis occurs in the Alpes-Maritimes, and 44781 matches exactly the illustration of female erynis. Hence I have included it on the gorge page and invite comment which, if to the effect that it isn't gorge, I would appreciate the rationale.

It has been suggested (well actually, rather more than suggested) that 44781 is pluto on the grounds that female pluto of the nominate form can be paler than the illustrations shown in most books, and that the discal line is not sufficiently jagged for gorge. I include these comments on this page in the hope that someone with expertise in pluto/oreas and gorge/erynis can throw some light on the limits of markings for each.



13247_male_Valais, Switzerland_19Jul08


13254_male_Valais, Switzerland_19Jul08