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

Caterpillar Foodplants

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.