Large Tortoiseshell Butterflies
Identify It > Extinct Wildlife > Large Tortoiseshell Butterflies >
Scientific name: Nymphalis polychloros
Size: Wingspan up to 60mm
Distribution: Extinct in the UK but still fairly common in Europe
Months seen: March to September
Habitat: Woodlands and woodland edges
Food: Nectar, tree sap and honeydew. The caterpillars feed on vaious trees including elm, willow, polar, birch and cherry
Special features: The Large Tortoiseshell butterfly became extinct in the UK in the 1950's, but there are still occasional sightings of this butterfly. Possibly they arrive from parts of Europe where they are still fairly common, or they could just be captive-bred releases.
Although similar in appearance to the Small Tortoiseshell butterfly they are, as the name suggests, larger, and the colouring is more subdued. They have an extra black spot near the outer edge of the forewing and they lack the white spot on the outer corner of the fore wing. Also the undersides of the wings are much darker.