Aglais urticae (Small Tortoiseshell, Kleiner Fuchs, La Petite Tortue)
Aglais urticae, also called Small Tortoiseshell or Kleiner Fuchs is a common butterfly from . 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.
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
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.
The flight period of the Small Tortoiseshell is from February to October.
The first description of this butterfly was in 1758 by Linnaeus. There are some subspecies.
- Aglais urticae baicalensis [Kleinschmidt, 1929]
- Aglais urticae eximia [Sheljuzhko, 1919]
- Aglais urticae kansuensis [Kleinschmidt, 1940]
- Aglais urticae polaris [Staudinger, 1871]
- Aglais urticae stoetzneri [Kleinschmidt, 1929]
- Aglais urticae turcica [Staudinger, 1871]
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.
Protection provisions / Red List
- CITES: (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora):
-no entry- (as at 23.06.2005)
- EU regulation on trading with species of wild Fauna and Flora
-no entry- (as at 19.08.2005)
- IUCN Red List of threatened species:
-no entry- (as at 2004) (see: www.redlist.org/)
- Red List of endangered species of Austria:
-no entry- (see: www.roteliste.at/)
- Regulation of the Viennese regional government:
-protected as imago- (see: www.wien.gv.at/recht/landesrecht-wien/rechtsvorschriften/html/l4800200.htm)
Similar and closely-related species
Polygonia c-album [Linnaeus, 1758] (Comma, C-Falter, Robert le Diable)
Aglais urticae Linnaeus 1758
Small Tortoiseshell, Mountain Tortoiseshell
La Petite Tortue, La Vanesse de l´Ortie
Classification / Taxonomy / Family tree
- Kingdom: ANIMALIA
- Phylum: ARTHROPODA
- Class: INSECTA
- Order: LEPIDOPTERA
- Suborder: DITRYSIA
- Superfamily: PAPILIONOIDEA
- Family: NYMPHALIDAE
- Subfamilie: NYMPHALINAE
- Tribe: NYMPHALINI
- Genus: AGLAIS
- Specific name: URTICAE