Definition of tortoiseshell butterfly in US English:

tortoiseshell butterfly


  • A butterfly with mottled orange, yellow, and black markings, and wavy wing margins.

    Genera Aglais and Nymphalis, subfamily Nymphalinae, family Nymphalidae: several species

    • ‘For example, the caterpillar of the small tortoiseshell butterfly will eat only stinging nettles, white admirals feed solely upon honeysuckle, and goldfinches eat only seed.’
    • ‘The BBSRC-funded researcher has attached tiny radar transponders, weighing only about 12 mg (4-8% of body weight), to peacock or small tortoiseshell butterflies.’
    • ‘The garage or outside shed can get quite crowded with tortoiseshell butterflies hanging up - along with a gaggle of wrens on cold nights.’
    • ‘On the other hand, we have had very much less grief from caterpillars this year; in fact, I see very few cabbage-whites about the place, though there are many tortoiseshell butterflies.’
    • ‘Where there were walls or hedges, bright orange rosehips, black sloes, red haws and yellow ivy bloom; a few bees, a small tortoiseshell butterfly.’
    • ‘Adult butterflies like plants such as buddleia but caterpillars, such as those of tortoiseshell butterflies, for example, feed off nettles.’
    • ‘Bumblebees are circling round and about and several butterflies are on the wing: orange tips, small tortoiseshell and peacock.’