Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae


Small Tortoiseshell is a common and widespread resident throughout the UK. It is found in almost any habitat and is a common visitor to gardens, feeding on cultivated flowers.


The Small Tortoiseshell has a distinctive pattern on an orange background and a row of blue spots along the edges of the wings.

Flight times

The Small Tortoiseshell hibernates as an adult and usually emerges in March, although it can be seen in almost any month. There are two generations, flying between late June and early October.

Food plants

Eggs are laid in large clusters on the underside of Nettle leaves.

Small Tortoiseshell
Small Tortoiseshell - © Simon Jenkins

Distribution Maps

Small Tortoiseshell distribution map 2005-09
Small Tortoiseshell distribution map 2010-14
Small Tortoiseshell distribution map 2015
2015 Summary
No of tetrads 961
First sighting 04/01/2015
Last sighting 29/01/2015
Small Tortoiseshell distribution map 2016
2016 Summary
No of tetrads 762
First sighting 12/01/2016
Last sighting 25/12/2016
Small Tortoiseshell distribution map 2017
2017 Summary
No of tetrads 772
First sighting 02/01/2017
Last sighting 22/12/2017

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