Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
The Small Tortoiseshell is a species of bright reddish orange, yellow and black butterflies found in a wide range across Eurasia. They are mainly seen during warmer climate when they come out of their hibernation for mating.
Description and Identification
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, they primarily display a reddish orange coloration, with black and yellow markings on the primary wings and a ring of blue spots close to the periphery of the wings. When the wings are closed, the ventral shows a relatively drab coloration. All the four wings show a dark color, except for a blurry dull yellow patch in the middle of the forewing.
Average wingspan: 4.5–6.2 cm
Flight pattern: Very fast and in a straight line
|Distribution||Throughout temperate Europe, Asia Minor, Central Asia, China, Nepal, Siberia, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, and the Himalayas in India (mostly in the Sikkim region)|
|Habitat||Wide variety of habitats, but exclusively prefers visiting human-made gardens|
|Host plants||Primarily feed on the common nettle leaves (Urtica dioica)|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar|
Did You Know?
- While looking for honey-yielding flowers, this species, in particular, tend to prefer colors at both ends of the visible light spectrum for humans, 400 nm and 600 nm, which correspond to the colors violet and red, respectively.
- Young caterpillars of the species live in groups, while the older ones are solitary.
- The small tortoiseshell butterfly is the national butterfly of Denmark.