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Taiga Alpine
Erebia mancinus Doubleday, [1849]

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Diagnosis: The forewing upperside is dark brown with three to five black spots in an orange band, above and below, and with a reddish-orange flush in the centre of the wing above and below. The hindwing is dark brown, above and below; the underside marginal area has some hoary shading and there are two small light grey patches, as in disa. Wingspan: 35 to 43 mm.

Range: Erebia mancinus is distributed in a broad band across subarctic North America from Labrador, northern Quebec, and northern Ontario, through the northern Prairie Provinces, northern British Columbia, and the interior of the Northwest Territories to Yukon and Alaska. It also ranges south in the mountains as far as Banff, Alberta.

Similar Species: The Disa Alpine (E. disa); Ross's and Four-dotted Alpines (E. rossii and E. youngi) lack the two grey spots on the hindwing underside. [compare images]

Early Stages: The larvae are unknown, but probably feed on grasses or sedges.

Abundance: The Taiga Alpine is common but local.

Taiga Alpine (Erebia mancinus). Dawson, YT. J.T. Troubridge

Flight Season: It flies from late May to early July in southern Manitoba, mid-June to late July elsewhere. This species is probably biennial in some areas; it is present only in odd years in some places in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Habits: Although usually reported from open black spruce-sphagnum bogs, in Quebec mancinus is more often found in wet, open spruce and tamarack forests around bogs than in open areas. It regularly lands on tree trunks, and is often seen at mud-puddles, rarely at flowers.

Remarks: When seen flying together with the Jutta Arctic (Oeneis jutta), which is about the same size and colour, the two can immediately be distinguished at a distance by their flight patterns: Erebia mancinus flies slowly in a seemingly leisurely fashion, while the flight of Oeneis jutta is much more rapid and energetic, especially when disturbed.

© 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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