Large Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Scientific Name: 

Nymphalis polychloros

Synonyms: 

Blackleg Tortoiseshell, The Greater Tortoiseshell, The Elm Tortoiseshell, The Elm

Description

Large orange butterfly that is thought to be extinct and occurs only as a rare migrant. Larger and duller colourings than Small Tortoiseshell and lacks white spot in corner of forewing.

Confusion Species: 

Small Tortoiseshell

Wingspan: 

Male: 68-72 mm, female: 72-75 mm

Log Book Number: 

1594

Authority: 

Linnaeus, 1758

Lifespan: 

Several months (overwinters as the adult butterfly).

Distribution: 

This large, mobile butterfly is now seen very rarely and is thought to be extinct in Britain. Sightings in recent years are thought to be of released or escaped individuals, or migrants from continental Europe.

Habitat: 

In mainland Europe (and in the past in Britain), clearings and the edges of mature deciduous woodland are favoured, as are lines of trees, for example along hedgerows, avenues in parkland, and wooded lanes. Willows are usually abundant at breeding localities and their flowers are the main nectar source for adults emerging from hibernation.

Diet: 

Elms are the main food plants, especially Wych Elm. Other trees may be used in the wild, including Willows, Aspen, Poplars and Birches

Status: 

UK Biodiversity Action Plan: not assessed Butterfly Conservation Priority: high (if re-discovered) European threat status: not threatened

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Species: 

A. Nymphalis

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