Banded Alpine (Erebia fasciata) (Butler, 1868)

Diagnosis: The upperside is very dark blackish brown, with a reddish flush in the centre of the forewings (larger in females) and no eye-spots. The underside is more brownish, and there are distinctive basal and medial light bands on both wings, pale grey on the hindwing. Wingspan: 38 to 53 mm.

Subspecies: There are three named subspecies, including one in central Siberia and one in Alaska and eastern Siberia. Only the nominate subspecies fasciata, described from Bernard Harbour, Nunavut, is found in Canada.

Range: The range of fasciata extends from central Siberia, through Alaska, Yukon, and mainland Northwest Territories and Nunavut to Hudson Bay. It also occurs on Banks and Victoria Islands.

Specimen collection data

Similar Species: The Red-disked Alpine (E. discoidalis) is much smaller, lacks the light and dark banding on the underside, and has hoary grey shading on the outer half of the hindwing. [compare images]

Early Stages: Larvae are similar to those of the Magdalena Alpine (E. magdalena), but the pattern of mottling is different. Foodplants are unknown, but adults are associated with cotton-grass (Eriophorum sp.), a sedge.

Abundance: It is considered common but local.

Flight Season: This alpine flies from mid-June to mid July.

Habits: Erebia fasciata flies in wet cotton-grass areas in arctic and subarctic tundra. It is usually associated with species of cotton-grass that form wet "meadows" rather than those that form tussocks.

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.