Aglais urticae (Small Tortoiseshell, Kleiner Fuchs, La Petite Tortue)

Aglais urticae, also called Small Tortoiseshell or Kleiner Fuchs is a common butterfly from Palaearctic ecozone (Europe). The first description was in 1758 by Linnaeus. With a wingspan of 4.5 – 5.5 cm the Small Tortoiseshell is a small member of the family NYMPHALIDAE. The butterfly is auburn with black, blue and yellow spots.


Photos for easy identification

Photo © by Thomas Neubauer; 15.07.06 Botanischer Garten Wien
Photo © by Mario Maier (Mario.Maier@butterflies.de)
Photo © by Mario Maier (Mario.Maier@butterflies.de)

These are nice photos of Aglais urticae (Small Tortoiseshell, Kleiner Fuchs, La Petite Tortue). Aglais urticae is a member of the family NYMPHALIDAE from Palaearctic (Europe).


Description

The forewings are auburn. The margin is ridged.   At the margin there is a chain of blue spots. On the wing leading edge there are three black-, two yellow and one white spot. There are three black and one yellow spot in the middle of wing.
The underside is very dreary. There is only one big light brown area. The rest of wing is dark marmorate.

The hind wings are auburn. The margin is ridged. There is a big black and hairy area around the body. At the margin there is a chain of blue spots.
The underside is dark marmorate and dreary.

The body is black and hairy.

Sex differences: None


Distribution

The Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) is a common butterfly of the Palaearctic ecozone (Europe and Asia) without the North of Africa. The distribution extend from Portugal to Pussia and from  to Norway to China. You can see the Small Tortoiseshell until 3000 m sea level.


This world map shows the ecozones in which this butterfly is distributed.

Flight period

The flight period of the Small Tortoiseshell is from February to October.


Larval food

Stinging nettle


Photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer

General information

The first description of this butterfly was in 1758 by Linnaeus. There are some subspecies.

The caterpillar is black with whitish strips and thorny. The pupa has no silken girdl. This species overwinters as imago.
The Small Tortoiseshell is one of the most common butterflies of Europe.


Photo © by Thomas Neubauer, 28.04.2007
Photo © by Thomas Neubauer, 28.04.2007
Photo © by Rudolf Faustmann
Photo © by Rudolf Faustmann

Here you can see some caterpillars from Aglais urticae.


Protection provisions / Red List

Similar and closely-related species

Nymphalis polychloros [Linnaeus, 1758] (Large Tortoiseshell, Großer Fuchs, Le Grand Tortue)

Polygonia c-album [Linnaeus, 1758] (Comma, C-Falter, Robert le Diable)


Scientific name

Aglais urticae Linnaeus 1758


Synonym

 Small Tortoiseshell, Mountain Tortoiseshell
 Kleiner Fuchs
 La Petite Tortue, La Vanesse de l´Ortie
 Ortiguera
 Nässelfjäril
 Nokkosperhonen
Kleine vos
Naldens takvinge
Neslesommerfugl
 Rusałka pokrzywnik


Classification / Taxonomy / Family tree

To the family tree (Genus: AGLAIS)...


Ecozone

PALAEARCTIC (Europe)

 

To the top

Back to family Nymphalidae from PALAEARCTIC (EUROPE)

 

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