Mountain Ringlet (Erebia epiphron)
The Mountain Ringlet is a small to medium-size butterfly that is spread in a limited region of Europe in 12 different subspecies. Because of its secretive nature, this is one of the butterfly species that is difficult to see.
- Family: Nymphalidae
- Genus: Erebia
- Common names: Small Mountain Ringlet
- Scientific Name: Erebia epiphron
Description and Identification
The larva of the mountain ringlet is greenish in color marked with darker green and yellowish lines all over the body, and with a brownish head. They hatch out of the eggs after around 16 days and go in hibernation in October.
The chrysalis of this little butterfly is very small with a length of about 10 mm. It has a light green thorax and wing cases, greyish white abdomen, having a blackish brown dorsal streak on the thorax. The pupa develops deep in tussocks of grass inside a loose silk case. The stage lasts for about three weeks.
Sexual Dimorphism: Vaguely present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the base color shows a dull black hue that fades towards the boundary. Both the primary and the secondary wings are bordered with orange spots with a black dot on each. When the wings are closed, they show the same color scheme. However, only the orange marks are either almost absent or extremely faint with a couple of vague black dots on them, if present. Some males are faintly brighter than the females.
Average wingspan: 16–22 mm (0.63–0.87 in)
Flight pattern: Short flights, keeping low to the ground, pausing regularly to bask
When first laid, they are pale cream to yellow, later changing to fawn with darker markings; maximum of 70 eggs, laid singly
|Distribution||Common only in the mountainous regions of central and southern Europe|
|Habitat||Sunny grasslands, warm mountainous valleys, and forests|
|Lifespan||Usually, around three months (June to August), depending upon altitude|
|Host plants||The main foodplant is believed to be mat-grass (Nardus stricta); the full range is not known|
|Adult diet||Nectar, yellow petals of the Tormentil flowers|
Did You Know?
- The mountain ringlet butterflies are the only true alpine butterfly species of Britain.
- This is the first butterfly species to recolonize the United Kingdom after the last ice age.