Tag Archives: small tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell struggling in Dorset and England

Orange butterfly iwth yellow, black and blue markings, on a white wall
Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Shona Refoy

Shona Refoy from Broadstone, took this lovely picture on 07/09/18, and adds the shocking statement “I was delighted to see this butterfly, my first sighting [of this species] in Dorset this year!” Continue reading

Small Tortoiseshells suffering from the summer heat?

Orange, yellow, brown and blue butterfly on grass
Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Brian Arnold.

Brian Arnold sent us in this great photo of a Small Tortoiseshell recently and said from his observations “They seemed to be quite scarce last year, but … they have virtually disappeared this year”. We asked our Records Officer, Bill Shreeves to comment. Continue reading

view of a Small Tortoiseshell with wings fully open

Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Brian Arnold

Brian says:

I saw my first Small Tortoiseshell this year, on yesterday 31st July at Alners Gorse.

I have not seen one anywhere else this year, and normally I would expect to see them in my garden at Harman’s Cross, and on my transect at Durlston East in Swanage. They seemed to be quite scarce last year, but from what I have seen they have virtually disappeared this year.

Brian hopes this is not the last one he is going to see and we surely all feel the same as this species is a much loved iconic UK butterfly.

view of a Small Tortoiseshell resting on leaves showing fore and hind wing uppersides

Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Martin Wood

This Small Tortoiseshell was found by Martin on 17/06/18 at Longham Lakes.

A lovely fresh specimen would literally shine out when resting on leaves as this one did. Flying from May – October in 2-3 broods this used to be one of our common species but sadly like so many others it is now in decline.

If you want to help this butterfly plant some Sedums and or Michaelmas Daisies in your garden, very easy to grow and needing very little water. They both flower late summer so provide valuable sources of nectar for this old favourite.


Colourful butterfly on a purple thistle flower

Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: George McCabe.

Orange butterfly with colourful markings, with open wings

Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: George McCabe

George says:

 Spotted 4 Small Tortoiseshells today at the large water pond off Icen Lane, Weymouth, that makes 5 over the weekend. They are so brightly coloured and fresh looking among the thistles you cannot be anything but mesmerized by them, l wasn’t expecting any surprises today [10/06/2018].

Mis-matched mating pair

Two butterflies of different species trying to mat

Meadow Brown and Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Sue Anderson

A very unlikely mating couple, caught by Sue on a track near Haydon, close to Sherborne. She reports they were being ‘buzzed’ by another Meadow Brown.

The mating is not likely to produce offspring, but one can have fun considering the name of the new species if they did. The Meadowshell? The Tortbrown?

Small Tortoishell glistening in the Spring sunshine

Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Brian Arnold

Peacock butterfly surrounded by primroses, muscari and lesser celandine flowers

Peacock. Photo: Brian Arnold.

Brian says: “Spring was well and truly here today [26/03/2017]. In my garden at Harman’s Cross there was a Peacock settling on the Grape Hyacinth, Celandines, and Primroses on our lawn, and I also saw a Comma and a Small Tortoiseshell. It is especially nice to see the Small Tortoiseshell as I saw so few in 2016, and just one in our garden”