Carline Skipper (Pyrgus carlinae)

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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.

26491_male_Alpes-Maritimes_07Jul11 26941_male_Alpes-Maritimes_11Jul11 27384_male_Hautes-Alpes_16Jul11
27668_male_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul11 23118_male_Valais, Switzerland_25Jul10 17436_pair_Hautes-Alpes_08Jul09
41824_female_Savoie_21Jul16 27593_male_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul11 12135_male_Hautes-Alpes_7Jul08
   
18312_male_Isère_13Jul09    

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 long, regular and with a straight-ish internal edge (compared to other Pyrgus). Other factors that appear consistent are the "leaning bump" in discal s1 and the roundish spot in basal s7.

ref sex

observations

alt. m
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
23118 M

although the markings are much whiter than the usual pale yellow, they surely indicate carlinae.

2000
17436 PR

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.

2000
41824 F a female, apparent from the body shape, with a rather more typical C-shaped cell spot. 1680
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
12135 M

the long and tidy rectangular mark on v5 is sufficiently and the absence of any mark in discal s2 point strongly toward carlinae.

1750
18312 M

this has all of the key features of carlinae and none that offer doubts.

1120

 

26491_male_Alpes-Maritimes_07Jul11

 

26941_male_Alpes-Maritimes_11Jul11

 

27384_male_Hautes-Alpes_16Jul11

 

27668_male_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul11

 

23118_male_Valais, Switzerland_25Jul10

 

17436_pair_Hautes-Alpes_08Jul09

 

41824_female_Savoie_21Jul16

 

27593_male_Valais, Switzerland_22Jul11

 

12135_male_Hautes-Alpes_7Jul08

 

18312_male_Isère_13Jul09