Marbled Ringlet (Erebia montana)

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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.

23094_male_Valais, Switzerland_24Jul10 23110_male_Valais, Switzerland_25Jul10 3340_male_Alpes-Maritimes_29Jul06
27755_male_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul11 3395_female_Alpes-Maritimes_29Jul06 23099_male_Valais, Switzerland_24Jul10
3332_male_Alpes-Maritimes_29Jul06 3356_female_Alpes-Maritimes_29Jul06 27706_pair_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul11

A late emerger, coming out in mid-July and restricted (in France) to the eastern Alpine départements, its lower altitude limit being 1400m. I had not seen it before 2006, and only in one remote location then, when it was about the only species present. It was rather smaller than I had expected but very appealing when fresh.

The upperside is quite similar to the Autumn Ringlet (E. neoridas) but the uph ocelli are much more pronounced, and the underside, from which the butterfly gets its English name, is different from nearly every other French Erebia, and the female as usual is lighter. Despite travels through the Alpes in 2007-9, I had not seen montana since, although in 2010 I encountered a few males in Switzerland, much more of the size I would have expected, and in 2011 it was quite numerous in several localities. I have seen it since, most recently in 2016, but always in small numbers.
ref sex

observations

alt. m
23094 M

a male, taking salts. The external edge of the red upf post-discal band is quite concave giving it a clearly jagged appearance. It was quite a large and dark individual.

1800
23110 M

a male, showing the uph post-discal red band with the same external concavity. This is different to the male illustration in T&L, but as shown in T&L for the female.

2000
3340 M

male upperside, the narrow width of the red upf band indicating male. The uph ocelli are very close to the bottom edge of the red post-discal series of somewhat jagged patches, unlike most book illustrations. Similarly, the books show a upf ocellus in s2, not present here.

1800
27755 M a male, rather dark but also quite worn. 2160
3395 F

a female, with the characteristic wider red upf post-discal band than the male.

1800
23099 M

a male, the underside of 23094. The patterning says montana but it is very dark generally (c.f. 3332) and has little contrast across the discal line.

1800
3332 M

the darker male underside, with the unmistakeable "marbling" effect.

1800
3356 F

the typical female underside, lighter and more obviously "marbled". Note that the female hindwing is slightly scalloped.

1800
27706 PAIR a mating pair, the female on the right. This shot shows up the differences between the undersides of the sexes. This female seems a more typical montana underside than 3356, in my limited experience. 2160

 

23094_male_Valais, Switzerland_24Jul10

 

23110_male_Valais, Switzerland_25Jul10

 

3340_male_Alpes-Maritimes_29Jul06

 

27755_male_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul11

 

3395_female_Alpes-Maritimes_29Jul06

 

23099_male_Valais, Switzerland_24Jul10

 

3332_male_Alpes-Maritimes_29Jul06

 

3356_female_Alpes-Maritimes_29Jul06

 

27706_pair_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul11