Status:  common resident

Flights:  2-3, Feb-Nov

Distribution/known sites in Monterey County:  widespread

Habitats:  grasslands, open grassy woodlands, coastal dunes

Host plants:  grasses (Poaceae)

Adult foodocc. nectars at thistles, fiddlenecks, yerba santas, asters

Conservation: secure globally


  1.   weak, bouncing flight close to ground

  2.   much geographic variation in ground color & spots

  3.   may be many species throughout range, but change is gradual and genetic material is exchanged

  4.   spots enhance camouflage . . no toxic chemistry

  5.   cryptic coloration in north where less active, i.e., camouflage over misdirection

  6.   UN darker basally, thermoregulatory function

  7.   CA ssp. spring form creamy-white; summer form “galactina” buffier, may have better developed eyespots


Common ringlet

Coenonympha tullia

Life history facts

egg: not laid preferentially on grasses

larva:  summer eggs hatch quickly, remain inactive until new growth, reach third instar, then quiescent until early spring


adult:  in warm weather, males patrol at grasstop level; in cold weather, they perch; not territorial, sit still or fly with undulating motion in tall grasses

nectaring on crucifer