Woodland Grayling (Hipparchia fagi)

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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.

45839_female_Var_29Aug18 03_84-03_female_Alpes-Maritimes_Jun03 35634_male_Alpes-de-Haute-Provence_28Jun14
38373_male_Drôme_10Jul15 41217_male_Isère_11Jul16 3244_sex?_Alpes-Maritimes_27Jul06
26368_sex?_Alpes-Maritimes_06Jul11 9669_female?_Var_12Sep07 14413_female?_Var_29Sep08

Fagi is difficult to differentiate from its close cousin, the Rock Grayling (H. alcyone). A more detailed appraisal of the differences (at least as they appear to me) is given on the alcyone page.

These are a selection of undersides showing the variation in the shape of the discal line and hence the difficulty in making an educated identification guess.


Many of the identification rationales are based on the size of the butterfly when seen at the time, plus the clear (or not) area around the ocellus (when visible).

ref sex


alt. m
45839 F a female engaged in courtship - the male can be seen just above the female. I believe that the open wing and upward-curling abdomen indicates receptiveness. 780
03_84-03 F

a female upperside seen during courtship.

35634 M a male, taking salts from the ground near a communal rubbish bin. 1060
38373 M a male, fairly typical in terms of the black markings touching the top of the ocellus. 1260
41217 M a male, the unf "eyebrow" touching the top of the ocellus indicates fagi. 1120
3244 ?

a reasonably straight discal line, with a clear white largely unmarked band, and the unf line only slightly angled at v4: all of these factors suggest alcyone, but my notes made at the time presumably suggested fagi on the grounds of size.

26368 ? this does not conform to the little bite theory, but the fact that the area around the unf ocellus is not clear, seems to indicate fagi, plus the fact that it was recorded as large at the time. 1000
9669 ?

a strange underside, compared to the norm, with a very grey post-discal band, where it is normally white or pale, and well-contrasted to the grey areas. Maybe this indicates female. The discal line is quite smooth, without the usual sharp angles, and the bite is the roundest I have ever seen.

14413 ?

less clear, but I feel on balance this is still fagi. Records made at the time indicated it was rather large. Maybe a female on the basis of the heavy-ish irrorations and the lateness of the flight period.

23363 ?

a fagi from the central département of Côte-d'Or, toward the northern end of the range for fagi, and showing and unusually white and broad post-discal band. It was very large, so no doubt that it was fagi.