Great Banded Grayling

Brintesia circe (Fabricius, 1775)



A large black butterfly with prominent white bands on both wings, upperside and underside. Males and females are similar. It could be confused with species in the genus Hipparchia, which are smaller, and species which are similarly marked have solid white bands, rather than forewing white band which is broken, rather than a continuous band, and without the two white marks along the costa of the underside. Their hindwing underside is cryptic, rather than a prominent white postdiscal band, and a white discal band. 

Habitat Requirements

Often seen in shady wooded areas and more frequently at higher altitudes. Having said this some CBC members have sent photographs of this species nectaring on Buddliea davidii in their gardens.

Larval Foodplants

Petrorhagia saxifraga, Barren Brome Anisantha sterilis, Anthoxanthum aristatum,
Anthoxanthum gracile,
Sweet Vernal-grass Anthoxanthum odoratum, Anthoxanthum ovatum, Italian Rye Grass Lolium multiflorum, Perennial Rye Grass Lolium perenne, Lolium rigidum, Lolium temulentum, Saxifraga adscendens, Saxifraga adscendens subsp. parnassica, Saxifraga carpetana, Saxifraga carpetana subsp. graeca, Saxifraga hederacea, Saxifraga rotundifolia, Saxifraga rotundifolia subsp. chrysospleniifolia, Saxifraga rotundifolia subsp. rotundifolia, Rue-leaved Saxifrage Saxifraga tridactylites.


A large, strong flyer, that is easy to identify in flight because of the distinctive black and white wing pattern. 

*The information provided in the tables below is based on verified sightings of the Great Banded Grayling submitted via this website since 1st January 2021.

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 07/06/2023 20/10/2023 135 days
2022 27/05/2022 30/10/2022 156 days
2021 29/05/2021 12/10/2021 136 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 180
2022 107
2021 106
Grand Total 393

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Great Banded Grayling (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023

Flight Times for the Great Banded Grayling (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month since 1st January 2021


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Great Banded Grayling
  • Family: Nymphalidae (Rafinesque, 1815)
  • Sub-family: Satyrinae (Boisduval, 1833)
  • Tribe: Satyrini (Boisduval, 1833)
  • Sub-tribe: Satyrina (Boisduval, 1833)
  • Genus: Brintesia (Fr�hstorfer, 1911)
  • Species: circe (Fabricius, 1775)


For a list of references, please see our bibliography page.