Satyrus ferula

Great Sooty Satyr


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2021

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2021

Field notes and information

"Two new species at one site! Fantastic"... unfortunately not - that was just my excited reaction when I first found this species and thought the males and the females were different species. Sexual dimorphism is significant.

Identification & Similar species: Similar to the black satyr, S. actaea, which has only one spot on the forewing. Upperside of male without andriconal patch (wings are usually held closed when not flying). The underside hindwing discal line has smooth rounded "points" compared to sharp angles. Size of both species is very variable. The species overlap in south France and northeast Spain, the current species flying to the east.

Distribution & Flight: From extreme northeast Spain, parts of south France, south Switzerland, sporadic in Italy and much of the Balkans from Slovenia to Greece. Usually common where found. Morocco. Flies mid June to August.

Habitat & Behaviour: It is found in hot dry grassy places usually stony or rocky. May be in open bushy places at lower altitudes.

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Piedmont, Italy, July 2010

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2011

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Valais, Switzerland, August 2019

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2020

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2019

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2016

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2019

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Valais, Switzerland, August 2019

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2006

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Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

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Valais, Switzerland, August 2019

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2016

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2016

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Valais, Switzerland, July 2011

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Macedonia, July 2004

Initially I mis-identified this photo as the Macedonian grayling Pseudochazara cingovskii. The two spots in the anal angle are key to separating these species from the underside.