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British Ringlet Butterflies
Aphantopus hyperantus is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of up to 35 to 42 millimeters. The wing upper and lower sides are solid brown with small, yellowish-rimmed eyespots. The newly emerged ringlet has a velvety appearance and is almost black with a white fringe to the wings. The number and size of the eyespots is variable, they may be missing on the upper wing surface. In central Europe and southern England the rare form arete occurs. The eggs are pale yellow when first laid, but become pale brown.
The caterpillars are about 25 millimeters long. They are gray or light reddish brown and have dark, reddish brown and very fine dots. Dorsally there is a dark longitudinal line, which is widened at the segment boundaries. Toward the rear, this line is more intensely colored. The head is darker and has several faint longitudinal stripes.
They live in grassy, moist or dry forest clearings with bushes but not in open places. There is a strong degree of attachment to woodland edges and blackberry bushes. The insect can also be very common where there are creeping thistles (Cirsium arvense) or swamp thistles (Cirsium palustre), oregano (Origanum vulgare), forest scabious (Knautia sylvatica), or hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) which are favorite food plants of the imagos. The males fly in search of newly hatched females in slow, uninterrupted flight and flutter round, about and between grass stems.
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