Erebia ligea (Linnaeus, 1758)

Erebia ligea: Male (river Iller near Memmingen, S-Germany, July 2013) [N] Erebia ligea: Male (river Iller near Memmingen, S-Germany, July 2013) [N] Erebia ligea: Males on excrements (river Iller near Memmingen, S-Germany,July 2013) [N] Erebia ligea: Male [S] Erebia ligea: Male feeding on Lilium martagon (river Iller near Memmingen, S-Germany, July 2013) [N] Erebia ligea: Male [S] Erebia ligea: Female (Isny, Adelegg, S-Germany, early July 2010) [N] Erebia ligea: Female (river Iller near Memmingen, S-Germany, July 2013) [N] Erebia ligea: Female (river Iller near Memmingen, S-Germany, July 2013) [N] Erebia ligea: Female (river Iller near Memmingen, S-Germany, July 2013) [N] Erebia ligea: Female (N-Alpen) [N] Erebia ligea: Upper side [N] Erebia ligea: Adult (Iller, 2011) Erebia ligea: L1 (freshly emerged, e.o. N-Alps) [S] Erebia ligea: Ovum [S] Erebia ligea: Larva gegen end of the first instars [S] Erebia ligea: L2-larva (e.l. N-Alps) [S] Erebia ligea: L3-larva (e.l. N-Alps) [S] Erebia ligea: Larva in penultimate instar (e.o. N-Alps) [S] Erebia ligea: Larva after the last moult . I discovered this larva in a light flloodplain forest at the base of a bush (Lonicera xylosteum) concealed in the moss. Only Carex alba was available as host plant  (Iller near Buxheim, S-Germany, May 2011). [M] Erebia ligea: Larva after the last moult  [S] Erebia ligea: Fully-grown larva [S] Erebia ligea: Larva head [S] Erebia ligea: Larva after the last moult (river Iller near Memmingen, S-Germany, mid-May 2013, found below Carex alba) [M] Erebia ligea: Larva [S] Erebia ligea: Larva [S] Erebia ligea: Pupa ventral [S] Erebia ligea: Pupa (e.o. N-Alps) [S] Erebia ligea: Pupa [S] Erebia ligea: Pupa dorsal [S] Erebia ligea: Larval habitat with Carex alba (river Iller near Memmingen, mid-May 2013) [N] Erebia ligea: Larval habitat (here also Lopinga achine larvae) at river Iller near Memmingen, mid-May 2013. [N] Erebia ligea: Habitat in a light forest in the Iller valley near Memmingen. The males fly at the path and in the sunny forest spots (2009). [N] Erebia ligea: Habitat with much Carex alba in the Iller valley in Southern Germany (Memmingen, 2009) [N]

Host plants:
The caterpillars feed on grasses (Poaceae and Cyperaceae). Mainly Cyperaceae (e.g. Carex alba and Luzula spp.) seem to be more important.

Erebia ligea colonizes open woods such as floodplain forests, forest gap systems, clearcuts, wooded bog edges, grove rich grasslands etc. Erebia ligea is a montane species, which occurs in the low mountains and the Alps (including the northern foreland) avoids hot, dry and low-lying habitats.

Life cycle:
The adults fly from June to August. A two-year development is obviously mandatory. The caterpillar overwinters in the egg shell for the first time and the second time in penultimate instar. I found a larva just in last instar, for example, in mid-May 2011 at the Iller valley (Southern Germany) in a Carex alba dominated light forest and a larva in penultimate instar in late October 2010 on the Adelegg (Eisenbacher Tobel, a low prealpine massif in Southern Germany)) probably already in hibernation in a pure Luzula-spot in moss.

Endangerment: regionally endangered or decreasing

Endangerment factors:
In the Alps Erebia ligea is not so endangered, at least at higher elevations. In the valley bottoms, the low mountains and foothills of the Alps, however it is threatened by darkening of the forests, eutrophication, destruction of riparian forests and so-called natural forest management (dark forest management, single tree selection without clearcutting, separation of forest and pasture).

Additionally, climate change affects especially the populations in lower elevations. On the lower eastern Swabian Alb a strong decline can be observed in recent decades.

The distribution ranges from Central France across Central and Northern Europe to Kamchatka and Japan. To the south Erebia ligea occurs to Northern Greece (own observations e.g. in the vicinity of Mount Vitsi in July 2011).

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