beetle, caterpillar and butterfly
Location: Salzburg, Austria
August 9, 2011 5:21 am
I’m putting together a photo album of all the animals I come across walking with my daughter. I’d like to be able to tell her more than ”this is a bug”, and I’m hoping you can help… These were taken in Salzburg, Austria in August.
Signature: Craig Potter

Scotch Argus

Hi Craig,
We are certain that you can appreciate the amount of research that it takes to identify a single unknown species, and three requests from different families in a single email is just too much for our limited editorial staff to handle.  That could take hours.  We decided to concentrate on your butterfly which belongs to the family Nymphalidae, the Brush Footed Butterflies, and furthermore, we knew it was a member of the tribe Satyrini, the Alpines, Arctics, Nymphs and Satyrs.  We believed it to be in the genus
Erebia, the Alpines, and as you can see from this BugGuide example of the North American species, they are remarkably similar looking.  We believe you have photographed a Scotch Argus, Erebia aethiops, which we found pictured on, however, we stopped as soon as we found a close visual match.  Eurobutterflies lists the distribution as:  “Hills of central and eastern France to Belgium and eastwards to Russia and the northern Balkans. Outlying populations in Scotland and two sites in northern England.”  There is also this additional note that supports your August sighting:  “It emerges later in the year than most butterflies so it appears fresh when most others are worn.”  Should you be so predisposed to have an exact identification, you may want to view the other 40 members of the genus that are found on Matt Rowlings’s European Butterflies website.  As we stated earlier, we quit when we found one that looks close, and we feel that an expert probably needs to physically examine a specimen to be certain since this information is also posted on the species page:  “Identification: The usual Erebia identification problems arise with this species. However, helpful features are
– underside hw broad post discal band is pale white or yellowy brown and ground colour is rich chocolate brown
– underside basal area usually distinct (especially in the female) and same colour as post discal band
– wing fringes are dull grey, in the female they are weakly chequered.
– orange markings are bright and the eye spots intense. Overall, rich colouration.
– scent brand in male distinct.”
P.S.  What you believe to be a beetle is actually a Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae.  

Location: Austria

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