Nettle-tree Butterfly

Libythea celtis (Laicharting, 1782)



A medium sized distinctive butterfly, dark brown with large orange patches, and a small white spot on the forewing costa. The shape of the wings are unique. Members of the genius, of which L. celtis is the only member in Europe, are characterised by their very long palpi, seen sticking out the front of their head. 

Habitat Requirements

This butterfly is usually found flying around or near to Nettle Trees. These can be found in rural or urban habitats. CBC member Richard Roebuck discovered a population of the Nettle Tree butterfly on the large Nettle Tree at the bottom of Lochagou Spyrou Vlaikou (near the New Fortress) in Corfu Town.

Larval Foodplants

European Nettle Tree Celtis australis.


This species has one brood a year, and overwinters as an adult. These butterflies adopt individuals Nettle trees, utilising them as the centre of their territories. In April courtship takes place by worn butterflies and ovae are laid. The larvae can be found with either a green or brown colour morph in their final instar. They pupate directly attached to the leaves of the tree. Immaculate butterflies can be photographed in May.

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

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 17/02/2023 20/11/2023 276 days
2022 17/02/2022 28/11/2022 284 days
2021 29/03/2021 20/10/2021 205 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 456
2022 240
2021 37
Grand Total 733

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Nettle-tree Butterfly (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023

Flight Times for the Nettle-tree Butterfly (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month since 1st January 2021


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Nettle-tree Butterfly
  • Family: Nymphalidae (Rafinesque, 1815)
  • Sub-family: Libytheinae (Boisduval, 1833)
  • Genus: Libythea (Fabricius, 1807)
  • Species: celtis (Laicharting, 1782)


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