Seen in flight from March to November is many different types of habitat including meadows, gardens, parks, woodlands….
Despite being one of the British Isles most common butterflies it is not a true resident as it depends on an influx of already mated migrants arriving from southern Europe in May and June. These gradually spread northwards. From mid-August they are on the move again making their way southwards with a re-migration taking place across the Channel.
Single eggs are laid on the upper surface of nettle leaves and will hatch within a week. The resulting caterpillar remains in a “tent” at the base of a leave and will pupate three weeks after hatching. To do this it will construct another tent from several nettle leaves and the chrysalis remains suspended from the roof of the tent.
It was thought unable to survive our winters but in recent times hibernating adults have been sighted in the south during the months of December and January. This suggests that climate change might be influencing this new adaptation.