The larvae feed on grasses with low production such as Festuca-species.
Hyponephele lycaon inhabits sandy grasslands, rocky slopes, sometimes sparsely wooded, steep mountain slopes with steppe-like clearings and similar very xerothermous places with open soils.
The caterpillar hibernates immediately after hatching from the egg that is usually attached to dead grasses near the ground. In spring, you can find caterpillars during the day, as happened to me in early June 2006 in Valais at 2000m asl (penultimate instar). The adult flies in July and August, just very few still in early September.
Endangerment: threatened with extinction
In Germany Hyponephele lycaon is threatened with extinction due to the disappearance of xerothermous extreme sites (abandonment of military training grounds, bush encroachment, fragmentation). South of the Alps, Hyponephele lycaon is endangerd by expansion of intense agriculture into formerly only extensively used areas (e.g. vineyards). But Hyponephele lycaon is there still better distributed, especially at higher altitudes (up to 2000m above sea level).
Hyponephele lycaon occurs very locally from the Iberian Peninsula across Southern France, the Southern Alps, small parts of Italy to Eastern Europe and Greece. In Eastern Europe, it reaches southern Finland.
Further east, Hyponephele lycaon occurs from Turkey and Israel to Central Asia.