Butterflies of Europe
Woodland Ringlet
Erebia medusa  FABRICIUS, 1787
subfamily - SATYRINAE
subtribe - EREBIINA
Woodland Ringlet  Erebia medusa Velebit mountains, Croatia © Peter Bruce-Jones
There are about 100 species in the genus Erebia, distributed variously across the Holarctic region, with 46 species recorded in Europe.
Almost all species inhabit damp high altitude grasslands. Most species are dark brown and feature a series of white-centred black ocelli set within a suffused area of orange towards the outer part of both wings. The markings are repeated on the underside but are more subdued.
Erebia medusa is distributed from central France to Mongolia and northern China.
Woodland Ringlet  Erebia medusa female, BŁkk hills Hungary © Peter Bruce-Jones
This species inhabits damp grassy clearings and glades within or abutting deciduous or coniferous woodland, at elevations between about 300-2200m. It is usually encountered in areas where there is an abundance of ferns and nectar sources.
The eggs are laid singly at the base of blades of grasses or sedges. The larvae enter hibernation in the 2nd instar. They overwinter at the base of grasses and may be buried under snow for several months. In the spring they awaken and resume feeding, becoming fully grown by March at lower elevations. At high elevations development is slow and they may not be fully grown until July. They feed at dusk, high up on the grass blades, leaving nibbled notches which give away their presence. The larval foodplants include Festuca, Bromus and Milium ( Poaceae ). The pupae are formed within a very flimsy cocoon at the base of grass tussocks.
Adult behaviour

Woodland Ringlets have a weak fluttering flight. Males settle at damp ground to imbibe mineralised moisture. Both sexes nectar at Carduus, Cirsium and Centaurea.



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