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Genus Aglais - Tortoiseshells

Milbert's Tortoiseshell - Aglais milberti Milbert's Tortoiseshell? - Aglais milberti Milbert's Tortoiseshell - Aglais milberti Butterfly - Aglais milberti Milbert's Tortoiseshell - Aglais milberti Butterfly near Hermit Lake - Aglais milberti Milbert's Tortoiseshell? - Aglais milberti Milbert's Tortoiseshell - Aglais milberti
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)
Subfamily Nymphalinae (Crescents, Checkerspots, Anglewings, etc.)
Tribe Nymphalini
Genus Aglais (Tortoiseshells)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Aglais Dalman, 1816. Type species: Papilio urticae Linnaeus
Inachis Hübner, 1819. Type species: Papilio io Linnaeus
Ichnusa Reuss, 1939. Type species: Papilio (Vanessa) ichnusa Bonelli
Explanation of Names
BugGuide follows the classification used by Opler & Warren and by Pelham in recognizing Aglais (including Milbert's Tortoiseshell) as a genus separate from Nymphalis (see discussion in Taxonomy Forum). This is still somewhat contraversial, and is basically a matter of opinion; the differences are not great. Many authors place Aglais and some place Polygonia in synonymy or as subgenera under Nymphalis.
The monotypic genus Inachis [includes Eurasian Aglais io - Eurasian] is sometimes still recognized as distinct from Aglais, mostly as a matter of tradition, and due to the distinctive color pattern; there is no significant morphological or behavioral distinction, and DNA studies place them together.
2 to 8 species (the number varies with interpretation of the author cited), primarily Eurasian.
1 resident species in North America, Aglais milberti.
A second species listed at All-Leps was a specimen of the European Small Tortoiseshell - Aglais urticae collected in Nova Scotia on 7 November 1970 after it flew out of a box that had recently been sent from England (see account of Small Tortoiseshell at CBIF). In addition, A. urticae has apparently escaped more than just the once, and has established (?permanent) populations scattered along the Atlantic coast of North America.
Also, there is the Peacock Butterfly - Aglais (or Inachis) io, a European species represented by a single specimen collected in Montreal on 21 May 1997 (see account of the Peacock at CBIF)
Northern Hemisphere, primarily mountain and boreal regions.
Larvae use Urticaceae.
Adults are avid flower visitors.
Life Cycle
Overwinter as adults, and may produce one to several broods per year, depending upon the climate where found.
See Also