Plants and Animals

Erebia discoidalis Red-disked alpine

species photo

Key Characteristics

Upper surfaces are dark brown with a large dull reddish patch on the forewing. Undersurface edges are frosted with bluish gray but without distinct markings. Caterpillars are green with lighter lines.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: SC - Special Concern (rare or uncertain; not legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S2S3 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from imperiled to vulnerable


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Baraga 2 1968
Dickinson 1 1999
Iron 1 1988
Marquette 1 1983

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Large sphagnum bogs with abundant cotton-grass and grassy meadows. Wide variety of open situations including pine forest glades, dry ridge tops, and sedge marshes. Major food plant is bluegrass (Poa sp.).

Specific Habitat Needs

Host plant needed in: BogMuskegNorthern wet meadowPatterned fenPine barrensPoor fen.

Natural Community Types

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management Recommendations

Little is known about this species' status, distribution, life history, ecology and threats. Thus, specific management recommendations can not be provided at this time. Threats to this species may include climate change and use of pesticides and herbicides. In general, surveys are needed to determine this species' current status and distribution in the state. Research to obtain information on this species' life history and ecology and assess threats to its conservation also is warranted. The sites at which this species has been documented should be protected and maintained. Adequate and suitable habitat at these sites need to be maintained including sufficient densities of the species' host plants. The habitats with which this species is associated and the ecological processes needed to maintain these natural communities need to be protected and managed. This might include maintaining or restoring hydrologic regimes (e.g., protecting groundwater recharge areas, avoiding or limiting surface water inputs from drainage ditches and agricultural fields), controlling invasive species, and restoring fire (e.g., prescribed burning) or other natural disturbance regimes.

Active Period

Flight from third week of May to fourth week of May

Survey Methods

The best way to survey for this species is by conducting visual meander surveys which consists of checking for this species near larval food plants, on tree sap flows, and in mud puddles.

Visual, aerial net

Survey Period: From third week of May to fourth week of May

Time of Day: Daytime


Survey References

  • Klots, A.B. 1951. Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 349pp.
  • Martin, J.E.H. 1977. The Insects and Arachnids of Canada (Part 1): Collecting, preparing, and preserving insects, mites, and spiders. Publication 1643. Biosystematics Research Institute, Ottawa.

Technical References

  • Glassberg, J. 1999. Butterflies through Binoculars: The East. Oxford University Press, New York. 242pp.
  • Nielsen, M.C. 1999. Michigan butterflies and skippers: A field guide and reference. Michigan State University Extension Bulletin E-2675, East Lansing. 248pp.
  • Stehr, F. W. 1997. Michigan Lepidoptera Survey Sites and Seasonal Occurrence of Michigan's Listed Species Annual Report 1997. 30 pp.+ MI Lepidoptera Survey Data Collection Form

More Information