Ringlet Satyridae

Aphantopus hyperantus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 42-52mm. Adults are dark brown on the upperside. When fresh the wings can appear almost black, but as the insect ages the wings fade to a lighter brown. The underside of both wings are a paler brown and have conspicuous black and creamy-brown eye spots. Most of these have white pupils. There are eyespots also on the upperside though these are less obvious especially in the males. In general the females are larger than males and are a lighter colour.

Similar Species: The only likely confusion is with the Meadow Brown which flies at the same time and in the same habitat as the Ringlet. However the Meadow Brown is easily distinguished by the generally paler colour, the larger size and the orange flashes on the underside.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside female upperside female underside

Flight Period: Strictly univoltine, mid-June to mid-August.

Status: Common and generally distributed in N. Ireland, including Rathlin I.

Ecology: A colonial species inhabiting unimproved, especially damp grassland and woodland rides. Can tolerate cool, damp conditions. Males patrol habitat looking for unmated females. A lot of time is spent feeding on flowers especially bramble Rubus spp, and thistles Cirsium and Carduus. Once mated females lay eggs apparently indiscriminately in flight or from perch on grass stem. Larvae feed on a variety of grasses. The 2nd instar larvae overwinter and resume growth in spring.

World Distribution: Central and northern Europe. Absent from most of Iberia, Italy, Greece and Mediterranean islands and northern Fennoscandia. Also in Asia to China and Korea.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1629 Agassiz number: 59.009

Additional information:

UK Butterflies account


 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland