Saturday, 2 July 2016

50 shades of brown ...

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

Chiddingfold Forest, Surrey

A. hyperantus is a relatively common and generally overlooked butterfly that is unmistakable when seen at rest - the rings on the undersides giving this butterfly its common name. The uppersides are a uniform chocolate brown, whilst the undersides project a delicate golden-brown hue in certain light. Despite this relative uniformity, a newly emerged adult is a surprisingly enchanting insect, the velvety wings providing a striking contrast with the delicate white fringes found on the wing edges. The dark colouring also allows this butterfly to quickly warm up allowing this species to be one of the few that can be seen flying on overcast days. A variety of habitats is used, although sites that are typically characterised as being sheltered and damp are preferred, such as woodland clearings, woodland edges and rides, meadows, hedgerows, road verges and country lanes, where the full heat from the summer sun can be avoided and where the foodplant is lush. A beautiful little butterfly and one that appears to be having an excellent season in local woodland.

The above images show (i) a male upperside, (ii) a female upperside and (iii) a female underside.

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