Erebia christi

Ratzer's Ringlet

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: christi

Piedmont, Italy, July 2012

Photo: christi

Piedmont, Italy, July 2012

Field notes and information

An extremely local and rare butterfly. Since moving to Switzerland, I've tried finding it most years. My best success was my first search in 2003 when I found 8 butterflies in an hour. Since then my "score" has oscillated between 0 or 1 a day, the exception being 2012 when I found 3 in one day.

Identification & Similar species: It is fairly distinctive being noticeably larger in flight than similar species. It is a paler brown. The defining feature is a straight row of 3 or 4 spots which includes the subapical spot on the forewing. In similar species the subapical spot, if present, is always displaced basally. Similar species to consider which may be found in the same area are the mountain, mnestra and lesser mountain ringlets, E. epiphron, E. mnestra & E. melampus.

Distribution & Flight: Confined to a small area of the Alps from the Simplon pass and neighbouring Italy. Late June to mid July. The flight period is short.

Habitat & Behaviour: South east facing cliffs and very steep slopes with an abundance of grasses. Usually with larch trees. May feed at thyme and other flowers at the base of these slopes where brambles, alders and other plants may grow. Males occasionally visit damp patches. In 2003, when the sun went in, both sexes pretty much stopped flying (as did most other species) and would settle with wings wide open - the females tended to settle on greenery and the males on bear earth. The latter were very hard to approach even in these dull conditions.

Photo: christi

Piedmont, Italy, July 2012

Photo: christiPhoto: christi

N Italy, June 2003

Photo: christiPhoto: christi

Piedmont, Italy, July 2012

Photo: christiPhoto: christiPhoto: christiPhoto: christiPhoto: christiPhoto: christi

Valais, Switzerland, July 2009

Photo: christiPhoto: christiPhoto: christiPhoto: christiPhoto: christiPhoto: christi

Piedmont, Italy, July 2012