Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies
British Butterflies: Species: Species Account - The Scotch Argus:
Scotch Argus
Erebia aethiops (Esper, 1777)

Scotch Argus egg.
ova
  Scotch Argus caterpillar.
larva
  Scotch Argus chrysalis
pupa
Scotch Argus
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Nomenclature
Insecta: Lepidoptera : Family Nymphalidae: Subfamily Satyrinae : Genus Erebia: Species aethiops:
Description
The main population of Scotch Argus as its name suggests can be found in Scotland where it can be found in tall damp grassland. In sunny conditions the male butterflies will fly low among the grass in search of a female. In overcast conditions, they tend to perch on grass flying only to investigate any passing brown butterflies which may be females. The females are encountered flying less often, prefering to spend most of their time basking.
Habitat
The Scotch Argus can be found in damp acid or neutral grassland in Scotland. In northern England it is restricted to two sites that contain a mosaic of habitat consisting of sheltered limestone grassland which is lightly grazed or ungrazed scrub, and woodland.
Distribution
The Scotch Argus is a common and widespread in Scotland but has suffered substantial declines in the southern part of its range. In England it is reduced to just two isolated colonies in Cumbria.

The Scotch Argus can be found in mountain areas throughout Europe (although its has declined recently in several European countries) from central France east to the Urals and western Siberia. It is not found in Scandinavia.
Where to see the Scotch Argus in the British Isles
The Scotch Argus is a common and widespread in Scotland but has suffered substantial declines in the southern part of its range. In England it is reduced to just two isolated colonies in Cumbria.

Key sites for the Silver-spotted Skipper include:
Cumbria: Arnside Knott Smardale Gill
Ayrshire: Changue

The Scotch Argus can be found in mountain areas throughout Europe (although its has declined recently in several European countries) from central France east to the Urals and western Siberia. It is not found in Scandinavia.
Other notes
Lifecycle chart
larvaelarvaelarvaelarvaelarvaelarvaepupapupaadultadultovalarvaelarvaelarvaelarvae
 
Flight chart
JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
The lifecycle and flight charts should be regarded as approximate guides to the Scotch Argus 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.
Least Concern Least Concern

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

4More information about IUCN categories.
Wingspan
44-52mm
UK status
Resident
Larval foodplants
In Scotland is Purple Moor-grass (Molinia caerulea) is the primary larval foodplant. Populations in northern England use Blue Moor-grass (Sesleria caerulea).
British subspecies
Erebia aethiops ssp. aethiops (Esper, 1777)
Occurs in England and north-west Scotland.
Erebia aethiops ssp. caledonia (Verity, 1911)
Occurs in southern and western 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 down by -1%
UK Population trend 1976-2004 up by 165%

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 not listed (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 Scotch Argus 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 Scotch Argus on the NBN Gateway web site.
Powered by NBN Gateway.
References
For full details of books and reports mentioned on this web site, view the references page.

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

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Photographs of the Scotch Argus
Image ID BB28 - Scotch Argus - © Steven Cheshire
Scotch Argus unknown (imago)
BB28 ©
Image ID BB27 - Scotch Argus - © Steven Cheshire
Scotch Argus unknown (imago)
BB27 ©
Image ID BB26 - Scotch Argus - © Steven Cheshire
Scotch Argus unknown (imago)
BB26 ©
There are 3 photographs of the Scotch Argus in our stock photo library.
Aberrations and forms
There are 6 named aberrant forms of the Scotch Argus currently listed. Find out more about aberrants here.

ab. depupillata - Stein 1918
ab. flavescens - Tutt 1896
ab. freyeri - Oberthür 1911
ab. huebneri - Oberthür 1912
ab. infasciata - Warren 1936
ab. nigra - Mousley 1902