Four-dotted Alpine (Erebia youngi) (Holland, 1900)
Diagnosis: The upperside is dark brown, with four or five orange spots with elliptical black pupils on the forewing that increase in size from the front of the wing to the back; the orange spots are usually partially fused into a band; there are one to three small eye-spots on the hindwing. On the underside the forewing markings are repeated, usually with the orange spots fused into a continuous band; the hindwing underside is blackish brown with reddish hairs and has very small orange spots on a light greyish-brown band between the dark medial and marginal bands. Wingspan: 35 to 44 mm.
Subspecies: There are three subspecies, two of which occur in Canada. The nominate subspecies (youngi) is found over most of the Canadian range. Subspecies herscheli is found in Yukon, only on Herschel Island and the adjacent mainland; it differs by having the forewing eye-spots smaller and dull ochre brown in colour, and the hindwing underside chocolate brown, instead of blackish brown.
Range: The Four-dotted Alpine is found in Alaska, western Yukon, and east in the Northwest Territories as far as Fort McPherson and Tuktoyuktuk.
Similar Species: The Scree Alpine (E. anyuica) has a virtually unbanded hindwing underside, and the Reddish Alpine (E. lafontainei) has the hindwing underside reddish brown to maroon. [compare images]
Early Stages: Unknown, but the larvae probably feed on grasses or sedges.
Abundance: This is a local species, but can be common at some locations.
Flight Season: Flies mid-June to late July.
Habits: Erebia youngi is found in dry tundra with a dense cover of very short prairie-like grasses. It is also common on flat, grassy "shoulder" areas on scree slopes. It can sometimes be seen at mud-puddles.
Remarks: Erebia youngi is closely related to Erebia dabanensis Erschoff of eastern Siberia.
© 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.
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