Species index

Woodland Grayling

(Hipparchia fagi)


27/07/09 Drôme (26)

With Hipparchia semele, 27/07/09 Drôme (26)

24/07/09 Drôme (26)

24/07/09 Drôme (26)

18/07/09 Drôme (26)

19/07/09 Drôme (26)

14/07/13 Drôme (26)

22/07/07 Drôme (26)

09/08/08 Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (04)

I've encountered the Woodland Grayling in abundance in valleys in Provence in late July/early August. The underside of the hindwing can show considerable variation in the postdiscal area ranging from a bold, white band to a thicker, paler band merging into the mottling patern. Some of the larger individuals (presumably females) have a vague white splash in the discal area of the under hindwing running from the costa downwards which reminds one of circe. However, in fagi this pale mark is always above the dark discal line whereas in circe the obvious white mark is always below the dark discal line. Equally circe shows a white band on a black background on the upperside in flight whereas fagi shows a creamy band on a dark brown background. H.fagi is also variable in size with some adults almost as large as circe. There is another species, the Rock Grayling (Hipparchia alcyone), in western Europe which very much resembles fagi, though is a little smaller, and could be difficult to separate unlesss good photographs enable identification by certain external markings. There is apparently a third species Hipparchia genava which is intermediate in size between the other two and indistinguishable without studying genitalia. As amateur lepidopterists we must accept that scientists have proven the existence of separate species which are not separable from external features of the adult butterflies. However, geographic distribution, study of earlier life stages and even of adult behaviour could all help in identifying a species correctly. 



Species index