Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
Species

Taken at Otmoor, Oxon, on July 31st 2018.
(1/125th sec at f13. Approx 2.25x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Underside. Taken at Besselsleigh Wood, Oxon., on July 7th 2018.
(1/400th sec at f10. Approx 2.25x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Larva. Taken at Otmoor, Oxon., on June 6th 2018.
(1/800th sec at f14. Approx 2.5x lifesize. © David Hastings)

Description

Wing span: 50 - 56 mm

The Small Tortoiseshell is one of the most familiar British butterflies, but in the 21st century it has suffered a significant decline, especially in the south of the country. The reason for this decline is not well understood.

It is found throughout the British Isles as far north as the Orkney islands.

A range of habitats is utilised, including meadows, gardens and woodland edges.

There are usually 2 broods each year in the south, with the first emerging in June and July, and the second from August to mid-October. Second brood adults go into hibernation quite quickly, re-emerging in the spring and often surviving well into May. In northern areas there is only one brood per year.

The main larval foodplants are Common Nettle and Small Nettle.

Adults are often seen feeding on Buddleia and Sedum in gardens. Thistles, Knapweeds, Ragwort and Teasel are often used in the countryside.

Small Tortoiseshells spend much of their lives on the move, with periods of cross-country travel interspersed with periods of feeding, basking and egg-laying.

This species is of Least Concern on the UK list.

Sightings

17-Aug-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
13-Aug-2019 : Greenham Common, Berks (1)
05-Aug-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
03-Aug-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
25-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
24-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
20-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
18-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
16-Jul-2019 : Bucknell Wood, Northants (1)
16-Jul-2019 : Ardley Quarry, Oxon (15+)
15-Jul-2019 : Lardon Chase, Berks (1)
13-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (4)
11-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
10-Jul-2019 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (10+)
10-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (3)
09-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
07-Jul-2019 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
07-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (10)
02-Jul-2019 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
02-Jul-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
29-Jun-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
29-Jun-2019 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (6)
27-Jun-2019 : Standlake Common, Oxon (1)
26-Jun-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
24-Jun-2019 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
18-Jun-2019 : Barton Fields, Abingdon, Oxon (4)
16-Jun-2019 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (2)
06-Jun-2019 : Bentley Wood, Wilts (1)
14-May-2019 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (1)
10-May-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
01-May-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
30-Apr-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
26-Apr-2019 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
22-Apr-2019 : Hackpen Hill, Oxon (4)
19-Apr-2019 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (1)
19-Apr-2019 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
30-Mar-2019 : Barton Fields, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
29-Mar-2019 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
25-Feb-2019 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1)

09-Oct-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
27-Sep-2018 : Eynsham, Oxon (1)
25-Aug-2018 : Standlake Common, Oxon (1)
07-Aug-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1)
02-Aug-2018 : Lid's Down, Oxon (1)
02-Aug-2018 : Lardon Chase, Berks (1)
31-Jul-2018 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
24-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
22-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
19-Jul-2018 : Vercors Natural Park, France
08-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2+)
07-Jul-2018 : Besselsleigh Wood, Oxon (1)
07-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (6)
05-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (6+)
05-Jul-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
04-Jul-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (4)
04-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (7)
03-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
02-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (4)
01-Jul-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (6)
30-Jun-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (6)
27-Jun-2018 : Arnside Knott, Cumbria (1)
21-Jun-2018 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
18-Jun-2018 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1)
20-May-2018 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (1)
22-Apr-2018 : Standlake Common, Oxon (1)
21-Apr-2018 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1)
19-Apr-2018 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (4)
19-Apr-2018 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
07-Apr-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
06-Apr-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
05-Apr-2018 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)

12-Sep-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
31-Aug-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
28-Aug-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
27-Aug-2017 : Standlake Common, Oxon (1)
26-Aug-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (7)
24-Aug-2017 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (11)
17-Aug-2017 : Lardon Chase, Berks (2)
13-Aug-2017 : West Walton, Norfolk (4+)
12-Aug-2017 : Dersingham Bog, Norfolk (1)
07-Aug-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
23-Jul-2017 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (2)
16-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
08-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
08-Jul-2017 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (13)
06-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
04-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (3)
02-Jul-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (4)
01-Jul-2017 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (2)
27-Jun-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
27-Jun-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (6+)
26-Jun-2017 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
25-Jun-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
24-Jun-2017 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (8)
19-Jun-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
17-Jun-2017 : Standlake Common, Oxon (1)
15-Jun-2017 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1)
14-Jun-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon
11-Jun-2017 : Velebits National Park, Croatia
04-Jun-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
03-Jun-2017 : Abingdon, Oxon (3)
27-May-2017 : Bucknell Wood, Northants (1)
07-May-2017 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (2)
30-Apr-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
18-Apr-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
15-Apr-2017 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (3)
30-Mar-2017 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (3)
25-Mar-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (2)
25-Mar-2017 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
13-Mar-2017 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (2)

18-Sep-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
11-Sep-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (3)
29-Aug-2016 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (7)
23-Aug-2016 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
21-Aug-2016 : Hackpen Hill, Oxon (4)
15-Aug-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
14-Aug-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
30-Jul-2016 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (3)
23-Jul-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
23-Jul-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon
19-Jul-2016 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
19-Jul-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (4+)
17-Jul-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (4)
16-Jul-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (4)
16-Jul-2016 : Silchester Common, Hants (1)
14-Jul-2016 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
14-Jul-2016 : Lardon Chase, Berks (1)
13-Jul-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
11-Jul-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (3)
09-Jul-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
07-Jul-2016 : Fermyn Wood, Northants (1)
04-Jul-2016 : Leighton Moss, Lancashire (1)
27-Jun-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
07-May-2016 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (1)
27-Apr-2016 : Port Meadow, Oxford, Oxon (1)
20-Apr-2016 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1)
17-Apr-2016 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
10-Apr-2016 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (1)
09-Apr-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
05-Apr-2016 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
03-Apr-2016 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (1)
01-Apr-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
31-Mar-2016 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (2)
25-Mar-2016 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (2)
21-Mar-2016 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (3)
30-Jan-2016 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)

07-Sep-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
06-Sep-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
16-Aug-2015 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (1)
16-Aug-2015 : Hackpen Hill, Oxon (2)
15-Aug-2015 : Rushy Common, Oxon (1)
08-Aug-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1)
02-Aug-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
30-Jul-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (2)
25-Jul-2015 : Bezbog, Bulgaria
18-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (3)
18-Jul-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
14-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
12-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (c.6)
11-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (8+)
11-Jul-2015 : The Holies, Berks (3)
11-Jul-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (9)
10-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (8+)
10-Jul-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (3)
09-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (12+)
09-Jul-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (8)
04-Jul-2015 : Charndon, Bucks (1)
04-Jul-2015 : Calvert Jubilee, Bucks (1)
04-Jul-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (2)
03-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
03-Jul-2015 : Whitecross Green Wood, Oxon (1)
03-Jul-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
03-Jul-2015 : Bernwood Forest, Bucks (1)
02-Jul-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
02-Jul-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (3+)
01-Jul-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
30-Jun-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
30-Jun-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
29-Jun-2015 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1)
29-Jun-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (3)
28-Jun-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
27-Jun-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (5)
25-Jun-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
23-Jun-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
23-Jun-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
21-Jun-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
07-Jun-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
07-Jun-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (2)
21-May-2015 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1)
16-May-2015 : Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks (2)
10-May-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
09-May-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)
04-May-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (5)
04-May-2015 : Cholsey Marsh, Oxon (2)
30-Apr-2015 : Arne, Dorset (1)
27-Apr-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (2)
23-Apr-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1)
22-Apr-2015 : Burgess Field, Oxon (3+)
21-Apr-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (1)
18-Apr-2015 : Aston Upthorpe Downs, Oxon (13+)
18-Apr-2015 : Aston Rowant NNR, Oxon (3)
16-Apr-2015 : Port Meadow, Oxford, Oxon (1)
15-Apr-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (2)
15-Apr-2015 : Marston Meadows, Oxon (1)
14-Apr-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (2)
12-Apr-2015 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (7)
10-Apr-2015 : Burgess Field, Oxon (2)
09-Apr-2015 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)
09-Apr-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
09-Apr-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
08-Apr-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
08-Apr-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (10+)
06-Apr-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (2)
06-Apr-2015 : Stratfield Brake, Oxon (4)
06-Apr-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (3)
06-Apr-2015 : Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon (2)
24-Mar-2015 : Garden, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
22-Mar-2015 : Allotment, Abingdon, Oxon (1)
18-Mar-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (2)
12-Mar-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1)
06-Mar-2015 : University Parks, Oxford, Oxon (1)