Coenonympha hero

Scarce Heath

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Jura, France, May 2011

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Jura, France, May 2011

Field notes and information

A very rare butterflies under sever pressure from habitat destruction, at least in the western part of its range.

The famous areas I am aware of for this species are in central Sweden and eastern Poland. The chief threat appears to be habitat loss. The place I found it in France is heavily managed for forestry, not for nature. But I think if left alone the meadows would disappear under a canopy of forest, and the insect would disappear with it.

Identification & Similar species: Resembles the rare false ringlet C. oedippus which has the subapical spot on the hindwing displaced basally so that it is not part of the regular curve of spots. The two species do not fly together.

Distribution & Flight: It is a highly threatened species in Europe. It only lives in isolated colonies spotted about from eastern France and southern Germany, south Sweden and eastern Germany across Poland and the Baltic states.

Habitat & Behaviour: I was tipped off a confidential colony in the Jura of France. It lies in a hidden valley at roughly 600m altitude. The flat grass lands are clearly very wet for most of the year as there is evidence all around of standing water that, in June, appears to be regularly dried out. The meadows are surrounded by mixed forests.

It flies low amongst the tussocks of grass resting only briefly on twigs or grass low down. It is generally wary and difficult to approach. In the heat of early afternoon they tend roost in trees, either low down amongst the twiggy growth or higher up on leaves or pine needles.

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Jura, France, June 2014

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Jura, France, June 2014

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Jura, France, June 2014

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Jura, France, June 2014

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Jura, France, June 2014

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Jura, France, May 2011

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Jura, France, June 2008