Brief Summary

Rätzer's Ringlet is a satyrine butterfly discovered in 1882 by Swiss minister August Rätzer in the Laquinthal in the Simplon of Southern Switzerland (Schulz 1892, Rätzer 1893). Endemic to a small area in the subalpine region of the Swiss and Italian alps, this is one of Europe's rarest butterflies (Leigheb et al. 1998, Sonderegger 1996, van Swaay et al 2012). Due to its restricted range, the species was listed in Appendix II of the Bern Convention (Council of Europe 1979).

The larvae of Erebia christi feed on Sheep Fescue (Festuca ovina), a densely tufted perennial grass. Like other alpine Erebias exposed to low average temperatures and a short growing season, Erebia christi caterpillars need two years to complete development, i.e., two winters are spent in the larval stage (Sonderegger 1996).

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Raetzer's Ringlet

The Raetzer's ringlet (Erebia christi) is a species of butterfly in the Nymphalidae family. It is found in Italy and Switzerland. Its natural habitat is temperate grassland. It is one of the rarest European butterflies, having not more than six or seven populations.



The butterflies often bask in the sun with their wings wide open. The males congregate regularly on damp ground. The females visit different nectar plants and are especially fond of thyme. They lay their eggs on the dry grass stems of Festuca ovina. Before completing their development, the caterpillars hibernate twice.[1]


  1. ^ C. Van Swaay et al. (2012). "Dos and Don'ts for butterflies of the Habitats Directive of the European Union". Nature Conservation 1: 73. doi:10.3897/natureconservation.1.2786. 


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