Small Tortoiseshell

Aglais urticae (Linnaeus, 1758)



A medium sized orangey-red butterfly. The upperside is orangey-red with large black and yellow bars along the costa (leading edge of the wing), and a series of blue spots submarginal spots. The hindwing has a large dark basal patch The underside of the forewing is a dull whitish-yellow with dark spots and border. The hindwing is very dark with a pale submarginal band. Male and female are similar. It could be confused with Nymphalis polychloros, which is larger, with a less contrasting underside, and the upperside is orangey-brown, without obvious blue submarginal spots. The hindwing is without the large dark patch

Habitat Requirements

Unlikely to be a resident.

Larval Foodplants

Nettle Urtica dioica, Hop Humulus lupulus


Only the one sighting of this species has been made by CBC member David Cook. David recorded the butterfly on Mt Pantokrator 31 May 2019. Presumably a hill topping migrant.

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

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2022 27/10/2022 27/10/2022 0 days
2021 03/03/2021 03/03/2021 0 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 0
2022 1
2021 1
Grand Total 2

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Small Tortoiseshell (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023 submitted online since 1st January 2023 to 28th May 2023.

Flight Times for the Small Tortoiseshell (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month based on all data submitted online since 1st January 2019 to 28th May 2023.


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Small Tortoiseshell
  • Family: Nymphalidae (Rafinesque, 1815)
  • Sub-family: Nymphalinae (Rafinesque, 1815)
  • Tribe: Nymphalini (Rafinesque, 1815)
  • Genus: Aglais (Dalman, 1816)
  • Species: urticae (Linnaeus, 1758)


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