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small tortoiseshell

Pictured: small tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae

Notes from Jenyns: Common everywhere. Steph. Illust. (Haustell.) 1. 43. ~ Do Catal.


200-year trend in Cambridgeshire: Slight decline.


Modern records

Today this species is still widespread across Cambridgeshire and the rest of the UK. However, numbers may have dipped a little since Jenyns’ day, with the species now being slightly less common throughout gardens in the county. A parasitic fly has appeared in recent years, which probably spread from the continent along with a suite of other colonising species helped by climate change and accidental human importation. This caused a noticeable drop in numbers, but some resurgence has subsequently occurred thanks perhaps to natural selection for resistance.


National records map

Small tortoiseshell national records map: