Erebia meolans (Prunner, 1798)

Erebia meolans: Upper side Erebia meolans: Upper side [S] Erebia meolans: Upper side [S] Erebia meolans: Male (Black Forest) [M] Erebia meolans: Male (Black Forest) [N] Erebia meolans: Female (Black Forest 2009) [M] Erebia meolans: Lower side in resting posture [S] Erebia meolans: Lower side [S] Erebia meolans: Male (Black Forest 2009) [N] Erebia meolans: Adult (e.l. Bregenzer Wald, Kanisfluh) [S] Erebia meolans: Male (e.l. Bregenzer Wald, Kanisfluh) [S] Erebia meolans: Freshly deposited egg in an inflorescence of Avenella flexuosa (Black Forest 2009) [M] Erebia meolans: Older ovum [S] Erebia meolans: Ovum after some days [S] Erebia meolans: Young larva [S] Erebia meolans: Young larva [S] Erebia meolans: Larva in penultimate instar (northern Black Forest, May 2008) [M] Erebia meolans: Larva after the last moult (northern Black Forest) [M] Erebia meolans: Larva after the last moult  [S] Erebia meolans: After the last moult the larva still shows a beige colour for a short timr. [M] Erebia meolans: After further feeding and growth the discoloration towards green starts. [S] Erebia meolans: Ab the mid of the last instars are the Tiere green gefärbt. Nur the head bleibt brown. [S] Erebia meolans:  Fully-grown larva (e.l. northern Black Forest) [S] Erebia meolans: Larva (Bregenzer Wald, Kanisfluh, Austria, early May 2010) [M] Erebia meolans: Brownish larva (rare) [S] Erebia meolans: Pupa [S] Erebia meolans: Pupa ventral (e.l. northern Black Forest) [S] Erebia meolans: Pupa dorsal [S] Erebia meolans: Pupa (e.l. Kanisfluh) [S] Erebia meolans: Habitat in the northern Black Forest (larval records, May 2008) [N] Erebia meolans: Adult- and oviposition habitat in the northern Black Forest 2009 [N] Erebia meolans: Habitat in W-Valais on 2000m above sea level [N] Erebia meolans: Habitat on the Kanisfluh in thewest Austrian Bregenzer Wald: rocky slopes in the background (early May 2010, several larva records) [N]

Host plants:
The larvae feed on grasses with lower production, especially Festuca species such as Festuca ovina, Nardus stricta and Avenella flexuosa.

Erebia meolans inhabits areas with open soil spots such as rocky slopes, rocky pastures, embankments and similar sites. In many cases, the sites are near to the forest. The possible habitat also include young windthrow areas and wide forest edges. The altitude can vary from 400m above sea level to over 2000m above sea level, but most of the localities are situated in the upper montane forest belt from 900 to 1800m above sea level.

Life cycle:
The caterpillar hibernates usually once in penultimate instar. In the upper elevations two winters are possible. I found caterpillars in penultimate instar in April 2008 in the Black Forest at 1100 meters above sea level just after the snow melted in Avenella flexuosa clumps along paths through windthrow areas. The adults fly from mid-May to August, depending on the altitude. I observed butterflies in 2000m asl in the western Valais in early August 2008. Oviposition takes place either on grass flowers or close to the ground in thP clumps.

Endangerment: endangered

Endangerment factors:
populations of Erebia meolans usually live at altitudes, where they are still fully exposed to the human activities. Therefore usually a significant threat must be stated due to dense afforestation or agricultural and tourist expansion. Only natural rocky slopes are more secure. In Germany Erebia meolans has declined in the Black Forest in the lower elevations and is probably extinct in the Thuringian Forest.

Erebia meolans is distributed in the mountains of Western Europe (Northern Spain, Pyrenees, French Massif Central, Alps, locally Apennines, Black Forest, Swiss and French Jura, Vosges, Bavarian Forest, formerly Thuringian Forest). In the Alps, a dense population of the western Alps stands opposite to a significant thinning to the east, so that in the eastern Alps (e.g. eastern Bavaria and eastern Austria) no sites are known.

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