Scientific name: Aglais urticae
Bright orange and black wings with white spot in forewing which separates it from the larger and much rarer Large Tortoiseshell.
Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland, commonly found in gardens.
The Small Tortoiseshell is among the most well known butterflies in Britain and Ireland. The striking and attractive patterning, and its appearance at almost any time of the year in urban areas have made it a familiar species. It is one of the first butterflies to be seen in spring and in the autumn it often visits garden flowers in large numbers.
The Small Tortoiseshell is one of our most widespread species and has shown little overall change in range.
Size and Family
- Family: Nymphalids
- Size: Medium/Large
- Wing Span Range (male to female): 50-56mm
- Countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
- Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = -3%
- Butterfly Conservation priority: low (but concern over recent decades)
- European status: Not threatened
Common Nettle (Urtica dioica) and Small Nettle (U. urens) are used.
A popular garden visitor that can be found in a wide variety of habitats.
- Brownfields for butterflies
- Butterflies and farmland
- Farmland Butterflies ID chart
- Butterflies in towns and cities
- Woodlands for Butterflies and Moths