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Hipparchia genava

Lesser Rock Grayling

Field Notes

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Valais, Switzerland, June 2010


Valais, Switzerland, June 2008


Lesser Rock Grayling
Hipparchia genava

Distribution: Appears to inhabit all of Italy, Switzerland and E France. Distributional relationship with the Rock Grayling, H. alcyone, is not fully established. Apparently in Switzerland, the Rock Grayling is absent.

Identification: It may not be possible to separate it from the Rock Grayling, H. alcyone from external characters alone. Distributional information is important.

Flight time: Principally July and August.

Habitat: Open woodland in hot dry places. Feeds on various grasses (e.g. Brachypodium sp., Festuca sp.).

Behaviour: From experience in Switzerland where the Rock Grayling, H. alcyone, appears to be absent, its behaviour is very similar for both species - they rest frequently on hot rocks but also in trees and in the heat of the day they hide in the shade on tree trunks.

Additional notes: I'm sure there will be developments in the taxonomic status of this group, indeed as in all of the Hipparchia. The name genava originates from collected material analysed in Geneva, Switzerland, after a collecting expedition to the canton of Valais.