Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Species: Species Account - The Mountain Ringlet:
Mountain Ringlet
Erebia epiphron (Knoch, 1783)

Mountain Ringlet egg.
ova
  Mountain Ringlet caterpillar.
larva
  Mountain Ringlet chrysalis
pupa
Mountain Ringlet
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Nomenclature
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Nymphalidae: Subfamily Satyrinae : Genus Erebia: Species epiphron:
Description
The Mountain Ringlet is Britain only true montane species. In Britain the Mountain Ringlet is found in the Scottish Highlands and the Lake District (Cumbria) above 350m from sea level. The adult butterflies are very active in bright sunshine flying low to the ground often pausing to bask or feed on the flowers of Tormentil.

The Mountain Ringlet is a Priority Species for conservation due to the continued loss of habitat and resulting drop in population.
Habitat
The Mountain Ringlet is only found in an open mountain grassland habitat which is dominated by Matt-grass and Heath Bedstraw.

In the Lake District the Mountain Ringlet occurs at an altitude of 500-700m and exists on both north and south facing slopes while in Scotland it occurs between 350-900m from sea level and prefers south facing slopes.

Adults tend to be most common in damper areas especially wet flushes where sedges occur but they may also be found in heathy areas.
Distribution
The full distribution of the Mountain Ringlet in Britain is not fully known primarily due to the remoteness and unpredictable weather of its mountain home. Its range appears stable although there is evidence that with the onset of global warming the species is emerging earlier in the year and may also be migrating to higher parts of its mountain home. This upward migration in the search for a cooler climate may result in local extinctions... once the top of a mountain is reached the butterfly has nowhere to go!!
Where to see the Mountain Ringlet in the British Isles
The full distribution of the Mountain Ringlet in Britain is not fully known primarily due to the remoteness and unpredictable weather of its mountain home. Its range appears stable although there is evidence that with the onset of global warming the species is emerging earlier in the year and may also be migrating to higher parts of its mountain home. This upward migration in the search for a cooler climate may result in local extinctions... once the top of a mountain is reached the butterfly has nowhere to go!!

Key sites for the Mountain Ringlet include:
Cumbria: Wrynose Pass (Park at the Three Shires Stone and follow the main track up the hill in a northerly direction. Note that there is limited car parking here), Wrynose Breast, Sprinkling Tarn (A colony exists on the grassy slopes surrounding Sprinkling Tarn), Honister Pass (Two good sites near the Honister Pass. The first site is on the plateau at Fleetwith between Grey Knotts and Honister Craggs. Park at the slate mine visitors centre, and follow the path running uphill, east of the slate mine visitors centre. The second site is opposite the slate mine visitors centre. Cross over the Honister Pass road and head uphill. Mountain Ringlets should be present around and to the east of Yew Crag). Also present at Kidsty Pike, east of Hartsop and between Irton Fell and Whinn Rigg.

Scotland: Ben Lawers, Lochan an Eireannaich, Glen Dochart, Strathfillan (Ben Lui, Cam Chreag, Beinn Chaorach and Meall Buidhe), and Ben Lomond. It also occurs in the Loch Lomond and Breadalbane areas where suitable habitat occurs.
Other notes
Lifecycle chart
larvaelarvaelarvaelarvaepupapupaadultadultovalarvaelarvaelarvaelarvaelarvae
 
Flight chart
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
The lifecycle and flight charts should be regarded as approximate guides to the Mountain Ringlet in Britain. Specific lifecycle states, adult emergence and peak flight times vary from year to year due to variations in weather conditions.
IUCN category status 2010 5   IUCN category status 2007 34
--awaiting data-- --awaiting data--

5Fox, R., Warren, M., Brereton, T. M., Roy, D. B. & Robinson, A.
(2010) A new Red List of British Butterflies. Insect Conservation and Diversity.
Near Threatened Near Threatened

3Fox, R., Warren, M & Brereton, T.
(2007) New Red List of British Butterflies. Butterfly Conservation, Wareham.

4More information about IUCN categories.
Wingspan
28-38mm
UK status
Resident
Larval foodplants
The main larval food plant of the Mountain Ringlet is Matt-grass (Nardus stricta). However the full range of larval food plants is not known although some recent observations may suggest an association with Sheep's-fescue (Festuca ovina).
British subspecies
Erebia epiphron ssp. mnemon (Haworth, 1812)
England only, in the Lake District.
Erebia epiphron ssp. scotia (Cooke, 1943)
Occurs in Scotland only.
Butterflies of Britain ID Chart
Your personal guide to British Butterflies. This 8-panel laminated chart is designed for speedy butterfly identification in the field. Ideal for anyone interested in identifying butterflies, perfect for children and adults and ideal for outdoor use, laminated, shower-proof and robust. Get your copy today.
Butterflies of Britain (Laminated ID Chart).
Online store
Visit our online store for many more butterfly related books and gifts.
Population trends 1
UK Population trend 1995-2004 insuficient data
UK Population trend 1976-2004 insuficient data

1Fox, R., Asher. J., Brereton. T., Roy, D & Warren, M. (2006) The State of Butterflies in Britain & Ireland, Pices, Oxford.
UK BAP status 2
UK BAP status candidate priority species (link)

2For information about the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, visit the JNCC web site jncc.defra.gov.uk.

National Biodiversity Network Gateway
National Biodiversity Network Gateway Distribution Map



Areas in and indicate a contraction in distribution of the Mountain Ringlet except in Ireland where data is only available up until 1999.

* Records shown in outside the natural distribution may be the result of illegal or accidental releases by breeders or, depending upon the species, migrant individuals from mainland Europe.

Key to map*
= 2000 to 2010 inclusive (current distribution)
= records from 1950 to 1999 inclusive
= records from 1900 to 1949 inclusive
Records prior to 1st January 1900 are not shown.

The NBN Gateway records are shown on the map right. (See terms and conditions).

More data is available on the Mountain Ringlet on the NBN Gateway web site.
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References
For full details of books and reports mentioned on this web site, view the references page.

Find out more online*
Mountain Ringlet can be found on Peter Eeles excellent UK Butterflies web site.
Mountain Ringlet can be found on Matt Rowlings excellent European Butterflies web site.

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Photographs of the Mountain Ringlet
There are 0 photographs of the Mountain Ringlet in our stock photo library.
Aberrations and forms
There are 2 named aberrant forms of the Mountain Ringlet currently listed. Find out more about aberrants here.

ab. effusa - Turati 1915
ab. latefasciata - Dioszeghy 1930