New Jersey Butterflies

Common Ringlet

Coenonympha tullia

Identification: Very small—1.4". Almost never seen with wings open. Below: Variably grayish HW (darker toward base) has a variable, blotchy, white median line and contrasts with bright, tawny inner FW; the FW often sports a small black eyespot near the apex. Appears lighter in color than Little Wood-Satyr and the orange tones in FW are often visible in flight.

NJ Status and Distribution: Resident. A northern species that was first reported in NJ in 1994. Now fairly common and widespread in Sussex, Warren, Morris, and northern Passaic counties, but also reported from Bergen County. Just found in Hunterdon County (2016). Probably occurs northern Somerset County as well.

NJ Range Map-Common Ringlet

Habitat: Moist grasslands and hayfields. Unlikely to visit gardens unless they are adjacent to suitable habitat.

Flight Period: Two broods from early May to late June; mid-July to mid-September. Extreme dates: 5/5—10/5.

Larval Food Plants: Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis) and other grasses.

Overwintering Stage: Larva.

Best Locations: Delaware Water Gap NRA; Whittingham WMA; Schooley’s Mountain CP, Wallkill River NWR, Appalachian Trail Lands.

Comments: The rapid expansion of Common Ringlet through much of North Jersey beginning in mid-1990’s seems to have reached its limit.

Common Ringlet

Morris Co., NJ, 6/4/11, on Canada Thistle.

Common Ringlet

Vernon, Sussex Co., NJ, 7/19/04.