1 3/4-2" (44-51 mm). Above, blackish-brown, FW dominated by diffuse rust-red patch covering much of cell. Below, mottled brown and gray, becoming frosty purplish-gray toward outer edge; FW patch repeated beneath.
All other brown and rust-colored alpines have eyespots and/or bands of light and dark; except Alaskan Magdalena Alpine, which lacks gray scaling beneath and FW patch.
Unknown. Host plant probably grasses (Poaceae) or sedges (Cyperaceae).
1 brood; May-July, depending upon latitude and weather.
Woodland meadows; dry open northern forests, swampy clearings among willows; spruce bogs.
Alaska south and east to Banff, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, N. Michigan, W. central Hudson Bay, and Laurentides Provincial Park north of Quebec City; also Asia.
This species and the Arctic Alpine extend farther east in North America than any other alpines. The increasing number of records in recent years for the Red-disked Alpine around the northern Lake States, Ontario, and Quebec probably reflects an expansion of knowledge rather than an increase in the butterfly's range. The Red-disked Alpine flies earlier than other alpines and in a wider variety of places than most. Nonetheless, it is chiefly a butterfly of the sub-Arctic, flying neither as far north or south in the Rockies as other alpines.