Aglais urticae - Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Image of Aglais io Butterfly

Formal Name: Aglais urticae

Informal Name: Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Conservation Status: Rapid decline in numbers over recent years

Location: Europe and Asia

Average Wingspan (cm): 5.4

Seen Between: March - October

Description: Aglais urticae are informally known as Small Tortoiseshell. They have an average wingspan of 5.4cm and are found in Europe and Asia.

They are seen in UK gardens between March and October. They eat nectar from flowers such as bramble, knapweeds, ivy and thistles. Predators of Aglais urticae include small birds and rodents that can climb.

This butterfly’s numbers have dwindled throughout the last few years due to pollution, climate change and parasites. Droughts cause the larvae to have little to eat. The species often rely on the timing of rainfall for plants to develop a food source.

Aglais urticae have vibrant orange wings on the upper side featuring black and yellow edges with pockets of blue. Similarly to the Peacock Butterfly, they have a dark brown/ black underside. This appearance gives them the ability to blend into the environment.