Surname: Little fox
Other names: Nettle butterfly
Latin name: Aglais urticae
size: 4 - 6 cm
Older: about 7 to 8 months
Appearance: orange ground color, wing margins are dark brown with white-blue spots
Sexual dimorphism: No
Nutrition typePhotos: Nectareater (nektarivor)
distribution: Europe, Asia
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: Forests, meadows
natural enemies: Birds
sexual maturity: with the development to the butterfly
mating season: March - October
oviposition: 50 - 200 eggs
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the little fox
- The small fox or Aglais urticae describes a butterfly within the noblefolk, which is also known under the name Nesselfalter.
- It is located throughout Europe and Asia, where its range extends from the polar regions to the Pacific coast.
- The small fox is an extremely adaptable moth that inhabits different habitats and is as widespread in the lowlands as it is at altitudes up to 3500 meters.
- It inhabits forests, forest edges, clearings, meadows as well as parks and gardens.
- The little fox reaches a wingspan of no more than five centimeters and has a dark brown body.
- The wings appear in bright orange primary color and show a dark brown coloration at the approaches and outside edges as well as at parts of the lower wings. On the orange background black, yellow and white spots appear. Along the dark outer edges, a bright blue patch of stains falls, which is fringed black.
- The underside of the wings is almost black colored and gray patterned.
- The adult butterflies feed on flower nectar. Among the preferred flowering plants are watercress, various thistles and geese.
- After mating, the females lay up to one hundred bright green, striped and ribbed eggs on the leaves of the stinging nettle in the spring, which serve as food source for the caterpillars.
- The almost black caterpillars show a clear pattern with bright yellow horizontal stripes.
- The sociable caterpillars shed a few times before they pupate.
- About twelve days after pupation, the finished moths hatch, which begin to fly after a few hours.
- Depending on the temperature conditions, three generations may occur per season, with the last wintering and coming back in March next year.
- In warm regions the butterflies fly until October, in colder areas only until August.
- The butterflies and pupae are captured by various birds and other insectivores.
- The caterpillars, however, are not eaten, which is probably due to the deterrent effect of their eye-catching color. Only a few parasitic fly species lay their eggs on the caterpillars, which then serve the larvae as food.