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Iâr Fach Amryliw
Small tortoiseshell
(Aglais urticae)

Fairly common butterfly in Lleyn, farmland provides suitable habitat so long as Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) are tolerated and there is an adequate supply of nectar sources. Fortunately, nettles are resistant to sheep grazing as are several species of thistle each of which can be used for nectaring. Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense) is particularly favoured in this respect but many other flowers are also used especially in gardens.
The Small Tortoiseshell overwinters, as an adult, in sheltered places such as outbuildings or hollow trees and can become active on warm days throughout the winter. In North Wales there are two broods each summer with the eggs laid in large batches on the foodplant. The larvae continue to live gregariously and are usually rather conspicuous. When mature they disperse in search of a pupation site.