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Mystery Picture Answers

No. 6

   Wing of Small Tortoiseshell butterfly  Small tortoiseshell butterfly

The wing of a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly. The Small Tortoiseshell is one of the most familiar of Britain's butterflies and can be seen on the wing mostly between March and November. It is one of the longest lived butterflies with individual adults sometimes surviving for up to 11 months. The sexes are similar in appearance but the male is territorial and will fly upwards into the sky while competing with other males for territory. The female lays her eggs on the underside of young nettles in sunny positions. The dark caterpillers which hatch feed as a colony on the nettle until they are quite large. They then disperse to pupate on other nettles or walls and buildings nearby. There are two generations of butterflies through the year.


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