Carline Skipper (Pyrgus carlinae)
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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.
|27668_male_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul11||23118_male_Valais, Switzerland_25Jul10||17436_pair_Hautes-Alpes_08Jul09|
A high altitude Pyrgus, with a late flight period of mid-July and August. Its minimum altitude range is stated by Lafranchis as 1500m, exceptionally as low as 1000m. Its defining upf characteristic is the cell spot which is narrow and shaped like a letter "C" although it may be just markedly externally concave and with a straight internal edge, and may be divided in the centre. This only applies to the male, the female being much more weakly marked and the cell spot, far from being C-shaped, may be almost non-existent. Other species may have a slight externally concave cell spot but not to the same extent as carlinae (e.g. Oberthur's Grizzled Skipper (P. armoricanus) 24703); it is not clear where this C-shape boundary exists.
The uph markings are clear but not strongly contrasted.
The carlinae underside has pale reddish-brown ground colour and the distinguishing features are the discal band which is quite narrow in s4/5, and the marginal mark on v5 which is rather (but not always) long, regular and with a neat straight-ish internal edge (compared to other Pyrgus).
It is not uncommon across the Alpes, and in 2017 I saw carlinae in a wide variety of locations.
|26491||M||a rather unconvincing C-shaped cell spot, but it is clearly carlinae.||1400|
|26941||M||an unusually greyish brown ground colour and a weak cell spot.||2000|
|27384||M||slightly greyer than usual, but the cell spot is unmistakeably carlinae.||1490|
|27668||M||rather greyer than usual, but the cell spot is unmistakeably carlinae.||2160|
although the markings are much whiter than the usual pale yellow, they surely indicate carlinae.
a mating pair, the female is above. Very convenient to see the upper surfaces of both sexes together, illustrating the lighter upf markings of the female and the virtually non-existent uph markings. It also shows how unconvincing the upf C-shaped cell spot can be, in the male. As in many instances of the books' references to identifying features (in this case they say that carlinae can be identified by the upf C-shaped cell spot), but quite often they are rather indeterminate, as here. I have a photograph of the underside which, although not 100%, I believe corroborates the identification as carlinae.
|44538||M||a rather warm brown colour, and classical C-shaped cell spot.||1550|
|44561||M||rather grey-brown and with a greyish upf basal flush, and a weak cell spot, hardly concave at all. This is probably at the limit of weakness for carlinae markings.||1550|
|44727||M||rather grey and with a cell spot that is unmistakeably carlinae.||1900|
|44854||M||a rather dark brownish-grey ground colour and a cell spot that can just about be described as concave.||2020|
|44618||F||a female, identified as carlinae by a view of the underside, with weak upf marks (the norm for a female) but a very strong wide non-concave cell spot (definitely not the norm for carlinae).||1550|
|44875||M||a very neat and appealing carlinae underside, with a relatively narrow discal s4/5 mark, a short but neat rectangular mark on v5, a rather small but regular bump in discal s1, and a beautiful deep red-brown ground colour.||1900|
|27593||M||the discal band is rather narrow, indicating carlinae, even though the marginal mark on v5 is not particularly long, which is normally the key to carlinae.||2160|
the long and tidy rectangular mark on v5 is sufficiently and the absence of any mark in discal s2 point strongly toward carlinae.
this has all of the key features of carlinae and none that offer doubts.