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Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

It may not have the glamour of the peacock or purple emperor, but this ringlet is a classy insect all the same, with its velvet sheen and delicate trim.

Common name: ringlet

Latin name: Aphantopus hyperantus


Caterpillars: cream in colour and hairy.

Adults: soft, velvety appearance, and very dark coloured with a white margin to the wings. Underside of wings have small circles which vary in size and number (these give the butterfly the name of ringlet).

Wingspan: 4.5-5cm.

Food plants

Caterpillars: various grasses.

Adults: various nectar sources including bramble, thistle and white privet which are favourites.

When to spot them

They are quite common and can be spotted from June to mid-August.

Where to spot them

Spot them throughout the UK in a wide range of places including woodland rides and glades, riverbanks and verges.

Their few short weeks on the wing are characterised by a trademark bobbing flight, as the males patrol woodland rides seeking newly hatched mates.

They live in large groups – sometimes over 100 can be seen at once.

Top Woodland Trust woods for ringlet

This is a butterfly whose fortunes are on the up, and it’s notably widespread in Scotland – including our sites at Lang Craigs near Dumbarton; Glen Finglas in Stirlingshire; Foulshiels in West Lothian and Aldouran Glen, outside Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway. You’ll also find ringlets at Knavesmire Wood in York and Miners’ Wood, just west of Durham.

Discover ringlets in other woods too. To find woods near you, type your town or postcode into our search box.

Fascinating ringlet facts

  • Females lay eggs in maverick style, bombing them down into the undergrowth from mid-air
  • A butterfly eclipse? That’s the effect when you see a ringlet, rimmed with a shining white halo around its dark-chocolate wings
  • Its dusky coloration means it warms quickly, so can fly on overcast days – you may even catch one in light rain.