Widespread and common
Distribution and Status
The Ringlet is now widely distributed in the two counties. In the 1980s and 1990s the butterfly was virtually non-existent in Middlesex but numbers and range increased substantially at the start of the century. Areas in central and southern Hertfordshire were also soon occupied where they previously had no reports. It appears that lack of grassland management in many areas thus allowing grasses to grow tall has benefited this species. In Middlesex, perhaps parks and gardens have become less tidy and more wildlife-friendly? 2020 and 2021 saw significant drops in numbers probably due to unfavorable spring weather having an impact on the grasses the larvae feed on although there was a small increase in 2022.
Tall, lush grassland near hedgerows, edges of woodland and woodland rides. It is scarcer in the drier areas and on arable land
Cock's-Foot Dactylis glomerata, Tufted Hair-grass Deschampsia cespitosa, Common Couch Elymus repens, False Brome Brachypodium sylvaticum, Meadow Grass Poa spp.
Adult Food Sources
Bramble Rubus fruticosus, Heather Calluna vulgaris, Wild Marjoram Origanum vulgare
The Ringlet is one of the few butterflies which flies in the rain. Its dark colouring and bobbling flight over the vegetation are diagnostic for this species although a faded specimen might be confused with a male Meadow Brown. When fresh, the white fringe on the wings is clearly visible. It regularly rests and feeds on flowers and taking photographs of the butterfly should be straightforward. Early morning is the best time for upperside shots
One generation is produced each year with the first adults usually emerging in the last week of June. The peak period is in the middle of July and very few specimens are on the wing after the first week of August. Females drop their eggs among the tall vegetation. By the end of July, larvae emerge and feed on the grass leaves before entering hibernation for the winter. Feeding resumes in the spring. Pupae are formed in a cocoon at the base of a grass tussock in June