|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Chazara briseis, or the Hermit butterfly, with the spot hidden. Very difficult to see against the lichen-covered granite. These are flutterng about all over the area, but more common below 1300 m absl. |
The larva feeds on grasses at nutrient-poor locations (Festuca, Sesleria others). Main food plant is Festuca ovina agg. (on the eastern Swabian Jura in Germany often Festuca guestfalica).
Chazara briseis requires large calcareous grasslands that are grazed intensively in migratory sheep (transhumance) and have sufficient low-growing, moss- and lichen-rich areas, open soil spots and often also stones and rocks. Moreover, the habitats usually are located at steeper slopes.
Chazara briseis hibernates as a small caterpillar. This is grown up in late June and is active after hibernation only at night. The adults fly from late July until well into September, some still in early October. Eggs are laid close to the ground on grasses (Festuca ovina agg. Etc.), mosses and lichens, or other parts of plants. I found young caterpillars on stony, rocky spots in Festuca ovina agg. tufts quite often in the Haute Provence in April 2010. Here the butterfly is still widespread (approximately at the Verdon region).
I observed caterpillars at night with a flashlight on the eastern Swabian Alb (Germany, May and June).
Endangerment: threatened with extinction
Due to the decline of migratory sheep and eutrophication (air) the the beautiful butterfly is an strongly endangered species especially in Central Europe. Chazara briseis belongs to those who probably will disappear in Central Europe in the coming decades, even if there are still encountered something greater abundances in some very few places.
In the south (e.g. Greece, Provence) it is in decline, too, but because there still are much more habitats left than in Central Europe, its endangerment is still not severe there.
Chazara briseis detection succeeds quite easily in the end of May and in June by searching caterpillars with a flashlight. Then they often sit well exposed on tips of blades. Usually you can find the larva on the most meager and often steepest parts of the habitat.
The overall distribution ranges from Northwest Africa across southern and locally Central Europe to Western China.
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