The Small Tortoiseshell can be found over most of the British Isles and, is one of our few hibernating butterflies, [six in total]. As a hibernator, the Small Tortoiseshell can live to about nine months. Going down for it's long winter sleep as early late July/early August and waking as early as February/March. It can be found in most habitats and loves to feed on Bramble flowers and Thistles. Mating takes place overnight in vegetation. They lay their ovum in clusters on the underside of Nettle leaves, they hatch after about 2/3 weeks. The first newly emerging butterflies can be seen early May to June. Coloration of sexes are alike, normally the only way to identify between male and female is by their abdomen, [the females being slightly wider than the males.
Female Small Tortoiseshell
Male Small Tortoiseshell
The underside of a Small Tortoiseshell, male/female are alike