|scientific name Erebia discoidalis |
common name Red-disked Alpine
Moist meadows and fens.
One yearly flight, peaking in May.
Eyepsots absent. Upperside dark brown with a large, diffuse dark-ochre patch in the forewing median area. Underside similar, but with a light brownish-grey frosting on outer half of hindwing and forewing apex.
The only other Erebia in Alberta that lacks eyespots is magdalena.
The barrel-shaped eggs are laid singly on the hostplant, and hatch in 9 - 11 days (Bird et al. 1995). Larvae, which likely overwinter, are cream-coloured with dark, diagonal lines.
One of the first butterflies to emerge in the spring along with Boreal Azures.
Not of concern.
Larval hosts in Alberta remain to be confirmed. Larvae eat bluegrass (Poa) species, including lawn grass in captivity (Bird et al. 1995) and Canby's Bluegrass (Poa canbyi) in Manitoba (W. Krivda in Hooper 1973). Scott (1986) also lists P. glauca and P. alpina.
Alaska south to northern Montana along the Rocky Mountain front ranges, east to southern Quebec (Scott 1986). Occurs throughout Alberta, but is absent from most of the prairie region (Bird et al 1995).
Joe Belicek (2014-04-09)
Erebia discoidalis (W. Kirby, 1837)
To see the Red-disked Alpine in the Edmonton area, take a late morning trip to the U of A Devonian Botanical Gardens, 15 km SW of Edmonton (Devonian Hwy. 60, Range Rd. 263), around beginning to mid-May. If the weather is good, in the Parking Lot at the Gardens you will most likely see males of Pterourus canadensis, nectaring on blooming Lilacs. To see the Red-disked Alpine, cross the Highway south of the Garden's entrance and go west into an acreage subdivision, Township Rd. 512A. Drive around until you find marshy, bogy, & grassy areas. Bring rubber boots, because it is going to be wet underfoot. Red-disked Alpine is one of the earliest, non-hibernating butterflies to appear on the wing. Depending on the weather conditions, the earliest records known to me start at the beginning of April. Females are slightly larger than males, with more rounded wings. Because of the wet habitats in which this species lives and an early flight period, it is a goody on my list. This is not a common species in Alberta and no similar species do occur here.
(a) Originally described as Hipparchia discoidalis from: Cumberland House, Lat. 57 N, [Hudson Bay, Manitoba].
(b) Erebia discoidalis mcdunnoughi dos Passos, 1940, was described from Whitehorse, Yukon.
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