An unmistakable butterfly when basking open winged; the soft black of the upperwings provides the canvas for a vivid red band that streaks diagonally across the forewing and along the trailing edge of the hindwing. This lower red band is marked with small black dots and a small violet blue patch at the centre. The apex of the forewing also contains striking white patches. The underside of the forewing resembles the upperside, the underside of the hindwing is a mottled arrangement of browns, greys and black which provides camouflage when the forewing is hidden behind it.
Migrant numbers build through May & June and their offspring peak mid-August to early October, but can be seen in any month of the year.
Larval Food plants
Common Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Hop (Humulus lupulus)
Pellitory-of-the-wall (Parietaria judaica)
Small Nettle (Urtica urens)
Commonest in gardens, hedgerows, orchards, woods, but can be in any habitat and at any altitude.
Frequent to common, widespread immigrant, usually overwintering.
Can be seen anywhere
Earliest county record 1st January 2007, Upper Chute (Joon Moon)
Latest county record
31st December 2006