Nymphalis polychloros - photo © Xristos Dimadis

Nymphalis polychloros, Grevena - photo © Xristos Dimadis

Nymphalis polychloros


Nymphalis polychloros is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae on the island of Crete, Greece.

Scientific name

Nymphalis polychloros (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name

Large Tortoiseshell


Family: Nymphalidae > Subfamily: Heliconiinae > Tribus: Argynnini > Genus: Argynnis


Male to female: 50-60 mm


There is no sexual dimorphism; males and females have a similar appearance. The wings are orange to red-colored with black and yellow patches.

Both wings on the upper side appear yellowish shades between the black marks and near the external margin in the postdiscal area and a black band in the submarginal area.

The underside of the wings is smoky brown, almost black in basal and discal areas with darker shades, black transverse penciling, and a row of blue marks in the submarginal area.


Adults hibernate from November to December, in cavities of ground and trees. It has a very strong flight.


Nymphalis polychloros in Crete live in forest edges, forest paths, glades, orchards, meadows, riverbanks, fields with light vegetation, and olive groves.

Food plant

The larva feeds on Rosaceae, Salicaceae, and Ulmaceae plants.

Flight period

The butterfly flies in one generation per year.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

The Large Tortoiseshell has a unique appearance in Crete and can’t be confused with any other butterflies of the island.


Least Concern (LC)

(*European Red List of Butterflies, 2010)

Nymphalis Polychloros Distribution Map

*based on http://www.pamperis.gr/THE_BUTTERFLIES_OF_GREECE/MAPS.html