Sirhowy Hill Woodlands

Scientific name: Aglais urticae

Small Tortoiseshell

Bright orange and black wings with white spot in forewing which separates it from the larger and much rarer Large Tortoiseshell.


Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland, commonly found in gardens.


The Small Tortoiseshell is among the most well known butterflies in Britain and Ireland. The striking and attractive patterning, and its appearance at almost any time of the year in urban areas have made it a familiar species. It is one of the first butterflies to be seen in spring and in the autumn it often visits garden flowers in large numbers.


The Small Tortoiseshell is one of our most widespread species and has shown little overall change in range.

What does the Small Tortoiseshell eat?

The Small Tortoiseshell eats Common Nettle (Urtica dioica) and Small Nettle (U. urens).

What habitat does the Small Tortoiseshell live in?

The Small Tortoiseshell popular garden visitor that can be found in a wide variety of habitats.

What family does the Small Tortoiseshell belong to?

The Small Tortoiseshell belongs to the Nymphalids family.

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Scientific Name

Aglais urticae


England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland


Medium/Large sized

Wingspan Range: 50-56mm



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