Silky ringlet (Erebia gorge)

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2019 photographs highlighted in yellow. Click on any photograph to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.

13247_male_Valais, Switzerland_19Jul08 46677_male_Alpes-Maritimes_18Jul19 46680_male_Alpes-Maritimes_18Jul19
 
13254_male_Valais, Switzerland_19Jul08 44781_female_Alpes-Maritimes_22Jul17  

A very variable high-altitude Erebia species, with several distinctive but very different forms. I first saw gorge in 2007, then a life-tick, but there were many more at the same site in 2008. However, according to T&L, the nominate form occurs in Switzerland, where both of the above males were seen, and has twin small upf ocelli, whereas 13247 has only one. However, I cannot see what else it could be if not gorge, and Erebia ocelli are notoriously variable.

The subspecies erynis (see 46677 and 46680) is similar but has no ocelli and occurs (according to H&R) in the southern French Alpes and the Alpes-Maritimes.
ref sex

observations

alt. m
13247 M

a male, with a single ocellus and a dark appearance, although brassy at the margins.

2200
46677 M a male of the subspecies erynis. It matches the T&L illustration very well. The most vestigial ocellus in upf s5 can just be determined, although I believe that this falls sensibly within the the description of erynis as "no ocelli". 2650
46680 M a male of the subspecies erynis, from the same location as 46677 with a rather jagged outside edge to the upf red post-discal band (contrast with 46677). There a just-discernible ocellus in s5, slightly stronger than the one in 46677, but again within the description of "no ocelli". However, this "ocellus" is only apparent on the left wing, not on the right. 2650
13254 M

a male underside, highly variegated making for good camouflage. The photograph looks out of focus, but isn't.

2200
44781 F I saw this heavily gravid female at the same location where several Sooty Ringlets (E. pluto) were flying and it originally seemed to me that it was likely to be a female pluto. However, it was in a region where nominate pluto occurred where the female is, according to the T&L illustrations, slightly less dark than the male but largely unmarked except for a pale and just discernible unf red post-discal band. 44781 did not seem be even close to the T&L illustration for nominate pluto, but it did seem a better match for the pluto subspecies oreas, except that oreas only flies in the northern French Alpes in Haute-Savoie, so on the grounds of geography, it cannot be oreas. I had not originally considered gorge, even though it was known to fly in this location. On consulting H&R and T&L, the gorge subspecies erynis occurs in the Alpes-Maritimes, and 44781 matches exactly the illustration of female erynis. Hence I have included it on the gorge page and invite comment which, if to the effect that it isn't gorge, I would appreciate the rationale.

It has been suggested (well actually, rather more than suggested) that 44781 is pluto on the grounds that female pluto of the nominate form can be paler than the illustrations shown in most books, and that the discal line is not sufficiently jagged for gorge. I include these comments on this page in the hope that someone with expertise in pluto/oreas and gorge/erynis can throw some light on the limits of markings for each.

2650

 

13247_male_Valais, Switzerland_19Jul08

 

46677_male_Alpes-Maritimes_18Jul19

 

46680_male_Alpes-Maritimes_18Jul19

 

13254_male_Valais, Switzerland_19Jul08

 

44781_female_Alpes-Maritimes_22Jul17