Bright-eyed Ringlet (Erebia oeme)

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2017 photographs highlighted in yellow. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

43633_male_Lozère_01Jul17 43949_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_08Jul17 44054_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_09Jul17
8233_male_Vaud, Switzerland_20Jul07 38420_female_Lozère_12Jul15 44002_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_08Jul17
43852_female_Pyrénées-Orientales_06Jul17 38422_female_Lozère_12Jul15 38637_female?_Pyrénées-Orientales_17Jul15

Some forms of Oeme have very characteristic white-pupilled ocelli especially in the upf s4 and s5, although I suspect it gets its name from the distinctive unh ocelli with clear white pupils - H&R describes these white pupils as "conspicuously brilliant". The ocelli of the female are larger and brighter on both surfaces. The subspecies spodia from the eastern Alpes and the Balkans has very large and bright ocelli, but unfortunately the name is a often a misnomer for the nominate oeme, at least when viewed from the upperside (e.g. 43633). I had previously believed spodia occurred in the Pyrénées on the grounds that the ocelli, especially the on the unh, were exceptionally large and bright (e.g. 38637), but this appears simply to be a variation of the nominate species. I can find no reference to a specific Pyrénéan subspecies or form.

 

The underside could be confused with the Woodland Ringlet (E. medusa) although medusa has four unh ocelli to oeme's five (arranged evenly), and the underside of the oeme antennal club is black (brown in medusa). Oeme is generally an altitude species, while medusa's range is from sea level to as high as 1800m, although it appears that their distributions do overlap in some areas.

In some populations oeme can have very small ocelli, even blind (with no white pupils) which can lead to confusion in identification, especially with the Yellow-spotted Ringlet (E. manto), although my feeling is that if oeme ocelli are blind, they are still quite large i.e. not pinpricks, and that the surrounding red post-discal bands hug the ocelli quite closely, compared with manto where the red bands can be quite wide. 18845 on the manto page is an example.

 

It should also be noted that some individuals of the Almond-eyed Ringlet (E. alberganus) can have quite bright pupils in red spots that are quite rounded and decidedly not lanceolate and, as such, can look very much like oeme. However, oeme does not have a upf ocellus in s2 (at least, not the males) whereas alberganus does.

 

 

 

ref

sex

observations

alt. m

43633 M a male, posing in overcast conditions with open wings to maximise the heat absorption. I did have some slight doubts about the uph red spot in s4 being rather larger than the others, which may have been an indication of manto. However, on checking the Lafranchis distribution maps, manto does not occur in Lozère and oeme only occurs in limited areas, but they did include the location where 43633 was seen. 1540
43949 M a very dark oeme, with particularly small red post-discal marks, but oeme it must be as there are no other viable options. 2070
44054 M a female, contrast the size of the ocelli with the male 43633. 1780

8233

M

a rather worn male, which I believe to be oeme.

1440

38420 F a female, with ocelli, especially the unh, rather brighter than the male in 8233. 1540
44002 M a fresh male, very dark and with a rather velvety appearance. The unh ocelli pupils are very bright. There is always a grass stem in the way - Erebia species have a habit of settling low in the grass - but trying to move the grass when this close to the subject would mean the shot is lost. 2070
43852 F a female underside, suffering from an even worse grass problem than 44002, but showing the very large female unh ocelli. 1820
38422 F a female, with ocelli probably about average for oeme. 1540
38637 F a female from the eastern Pyrénées with exceptionally large and bright unh ocelli. 1820

 

43633_male_Lozère_01Jul17

 

43949_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_08Jul17

 

44054_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_09Jul17

 

8233_male_Vaud, Switzerland_20Jul07

 

38420_female_Lozère_12Jul15

 

44002_male_Hautes-Pyrénées_08Jul17

 

43852_female_Pyrénées-Orientales_06Jul17

 

38422_female_Lozère_12Jul15

 

38637_female?_Pyrénées-Orientales_17Jul15