Piedmont Ringlet (Erebia meolans)

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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.

38897_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_22Jul15 39209_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_24Jul15 18599_male_Isère_14Jul09
41900_male_Savoie_24Jul16 39154_female_Hautes-Pyrénées_24Jul15 18282_female_Isère_13Jul09
8973_female_Hautes-Pyrénées_9Aug07 30497_male_Alpes-Maritimes_4Jul12 38632_female_Pyrénées-Orientales_17Jul15
   
39153_female_Hautes-Pyrénées_24Jul15    

A widespread Erebia, unlike many of its relatives which tend to be quite localised. The ocelli are well developed and there is sometimes a small ocellus in s6, although if so, it is clearly not aligned with the larger ocelli in s4 and s5 - compared with the ocelli on the de Prunner's Ringlet (E. triaria) upf where there is always an ocellus in s6 which is either perfectly in line with the two larger ocelli in s4 and s5 or very close to being aligned. Please see the notes on the triaria page for more detail.

 

It could be confused with the Scotch Argus (E. aethiops) in terms of size, dark brown to black colour of the male upperside, size of the upperside red post-discal bands, and the size and location of the ocelli. Perhaps the key differentiator is that the meolans upf red band is cut at the veins, most noticeably between s2 and s3, and has the appearance of being cut into sections, with rounded edges, whereas the aethiops band usually appears continuous or nearly so. The male undersides are easier to differentiate, the meolans unh being very dark, black when fresh.

On reviewing all of my records, I find that I had only ever seen meolans in the Pyrénées until 2009, which surprises me. In 2009, a journey from Nice to Geneva through the French Alpes revealed meolans in several locations. On a trip to the Pyrénées in 2015, it was ubiquitous. T&L says that the subspecies bejarensis occurs in central Spain but is transitional to meolans in the Pyrénées. The features of bejarensis are that it is larger, brighter, has all markings well-developed, and the upf has ocelli in s2-s6. I mention this because a number of the meolans I saw in 2015 in the Pyrénées looked very much like bejarensis in its pure form rather than "transitional to" meolans. However, there also seemed to be individuals that had the characteristics of both, so clearly many of them were "transitional".

ref

sex

observations

alt. m

38897

M

this male looked rather "transitional" to bejarensis, the ocelli being normal for meolans but the upf red post-discal band looked rather wide for nominate meolans.

2120

39209

M

this male certainly had all the hallmarks of bejarensis, with a very wide upf red post-discal band and particularly large ocelli with very bright white pupils. This rather suggests that "pure" bejarensis occurs in the Pyrénées, as well as transitional forms. Some attached red mites are visible at the base of the thorax.

1600

18599

M

a classic meolans male, the red post-discal band being cut between s2 and s3, and the bright ocelli being at the external edges of the red spots.

1230

41900 M a male. I don't have many photographs of this species, so this helps to build the library of the range of variation. 2010

39154

F

a female, with exceptionally large ocelli suggesting pure bejarensis.

1600

18282

F

a worn female, the red post-discal band being rather wider than that of the male.

1450

8973

F

a female, an educated guess, based on the width of the upf red post-discal band.

1700

30497

M

a male underside, showing the charcoal black colouring of fresh specimens.

2000

38632

F

this distance shot of a female from the Pyrénées certainly appears to be bejarensis in its pure form, with very large unh ocelli with very bright white pupils. The white exterior to the uph discal line is also strongly indicative of bejarensis.

1820

39153

F

another distance shot of a female, with very bright ocelli, but the unh looks right for meolans.

1600

 

38897_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_22Jul15

 

39209_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_24Jul15

 

18599_male_Isère_14Jul09

 

41900_male_Savoie_24Jul16

 

39154_female_Hautes-Pyrénées_24Jul15

 

18282_female_Isère_13Jul09

 

8973_female_Hautes-Pyrénées_9Aug07

 

30497_male_Alpes-Maritimes_4Jul12

 

38632_female_Pyrénées-Orientales_17Jul15

 

39153_female_Hautes-Pyrénées_24Jul15