True Brushfoots (Nymphalinae) belong to the family of Brush-footed butterflies (Nymphalidae). They are medium to large-sized butterflies with a powerful flight and easy to identify. Most butterflies of this species use the nettle to deposit eggs.
Chocolate Pansy – 2022 (INA)
The Chocolate Pansy (Junonia hedonia) is fairly common in multiple habitats across Asia, with a ubiquitous presence in nature reserves, as well as in urban and suburban areas. It flies in the usual gliding manner and typically several individuals can be seen together in one location. In sunny conditions, they have a habit of opening their wings wide to sunbathe while resting in a high place. The upper side of the wings are orange-brown with prominent dark bands running from the leading edge to the inner edge and becoming less broad. On the top of the hindwing, you can see several brown circles with a dark dot in it. The back of both wings are dull brown and there is a black stripe running across both wings that connects seamlessly from the forewing to that of the hindwing. On the underside of both wings are several yellow-brown circles with a yellow dot in the middle. Furthermore, the white spot on the hindwing stands out. The wingspan is 55-60mm. Host plant: Creeping Ruellia. Dutch name: Bruine aurelia. Frisian name: –
Nickerl’s Fritillary – 2023 (NL)
Despite the fact that the name suggests otherwise, Nickerl’s Fritillary (Melitaea aurelia) belongs to the true brushfoots and not to the fritillaries. The space between the black markings on the top of the orange-brown wings is about the same size, creating an even network pattern. The underside of the hindwing is multicolored. The double lines near the trailing edge are sometimes filled in yellow and darker than the adjacent moon spots. The moon spots on the underside of the forewing are all about the same size. The palps are covered with red and black hairs in the male and only with red hairs in the female. With this, it can be distinguished from the Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia) which only has black hairs on the palps, although this characteristic is also considered obsolete. A better feature is the lack of a clear black spot in cell c2 on the underside of the forewing which is clearly present in the Heath Fritillary. The flight period is in one generation from early June to early August and the wingspan is 28-32mm. Host plant: Ribwort Plantain. Dutch name: Steppeparelmoervlinder. Frisian name: –
Orange-patched Crescent – 2017 (CO)
The Orange-patched Crescent (Anthanassa drusilla) is a butterfly common in South America. The brown hindwing has an orange band with two rows of half-moons on the wing margin. The brown forewing has many small and some larger orange spots. There is a variant of this brushfoot (Anthanassa drusilla alceta) where those spots on the forewing can be seen as a large orange band. Host plant: –. Dutch name: Oranje-gevlekte aurelia. Frisian name: –
Map Butterfly – 2010 (NL)
The Map Butterfly (Araschnia levana) is a special butterfly as the spring generation looks very different from the summer generation, seasonal dimorphism. The top of the spring brood is orange with black spots and the summer brood has a black top with a yellow or whitish band at the wing margin. The underside is dark reddish-brown with white veins and transverse lines, the hindwing with a whitish band in the hemline. The wingspan is 40-50mm. The Map Butterfly flies in two or three generations from April to September. Adults use a wide range of herbaceous plants for nectar while males are known to absorb salts and other nutrients from damp soil. Host plant: Large Nettle. Dutch name: Landkaartje. Frisian name: Lânkaartflinter.
The Mosaic – 2017 (CO)
The Mosaic (Colobura dirce) is a butterfly that is only seen in butterfly gardens in the Netherlands. I spotted this butterfly in wild nature in Medellin (Colombia). The underside of the wings shows how it got its name. A pattern of alternating brown and white stripes can be seen. The Mosaic is very similar to its relative the Colobura annulata, which is very rare. The Mosaic is slightly smaller, but the main difference is related to the brown stripes in the apical area of the wing. For the Mosaic, they grow from fairly wide to clearly thinner towards the apex and are also lighter in color. Two small orange and blue spots can also be seen on the underside of the hindwing. The top of the wing is dark brown to black with the same wide white-yellow band on the forewing that can also be seen on the underside. The Mosaic likes to sit on trees with its head down. Host plant: Nettle. Dutch name: Zebravlinder. Frisian name: –
Peacock Butterfly – 2008 (FR)
The Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io) is a very colorful butterfly that flies around for three generations from February to October. The top of this butterfly is reddish-brown with a striking eye-spot on each wing to startle or confuse predators. The eye-spots on the hindwing are white with a blue spot in them, while the spots on the forewing are yellow/blue with a reddish-brown stain. The underside of the wings, on the other hand, is black and looks like a dead leaf. The wingspan is 63-69mm. Host plant: Common Nettle, and Hop. Dutch name: Dagpauwoog. Frisian name: Deipau-each.
Comma Butterfly – 2006 (NL)
The Comma Butterfly (Nymphalis c-album) is a butterfly that flies around in one to three generations from February to October. The wings are roughly corrugated with the top orange with black spots and underside brown and have a wingspan of 55-56mm. When the wings are held together in a resting position, the Comma Butterfly looks like a leaf on the tree due to the shape of the wings. An excellent camouflage. Striking is the C-shaped white spot on the underside of the hindwing. This butterfly owes its name to it. Host plant: Nettle, Hop, Elm, Willow, and Hazel. Dutch name: Gehakkelde aurelia. Frisian name: C-flinter.
Southern Comma – 2008 (JO)
The Southern Comma (Nymphalis egea) is a butterfly that does not occur in the Netherlands. It is a butterfly found from the French Mediterranean coast to the East. The Southern Comma almost resembles its relative, but the black spots on the top of the forewing are smaller and the underside has a small white L-shaped spot. Host plant: Upright Pellitory. Dutch name: Zuidelijke aurelia. Frisian name: –
Small Tortoiseshell – 2008 (NL)
The Small Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis urticae) flies from one to three generations from February to October. The top of the wing is orange with a black serrated band in the outer edge zone with the serrations filled with blue. There are three large black spots along the costa of the forewing. The wingspan is 50-56mm. With this butterfly, the hair on the body is also very strong. Host plant: Common Nettle. Dutch name: Kleine vos. Frisian name: Lytse foks.
Large Tortoiseshell – 2023 (NL)
The Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychloros) is a rare butterfly in the Netherlands. I first saw this butterfly in the southernmost part of Limburg. The upper side of the wings are orange-brown and along the trailing edge of the hindwing, as in the Small Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis urticae), there are blue moon spots. However, along the trailing edge of the forewing, those blue moon spots are missing which distinguishes it from the Small Tortoiseshell. Another difference is the four black spots in the middle of the forewing compared to the three on the Small Tortoiseshell. Some black spots are clearly visible along the leading edge of the forewing and the wing margins are serrated in black. The flight period is in one generation from June to August and the wingspan is 68-72mm. Host plant: Elm. Dutch name: Grote vos. Frisian name: Grutte foks.
Painted Lady – 2006 (NL)
The Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) is a long-distance migrant that occurs in several generations in the Netherlands from March to October. The wingspan is 50-56mm. The underside of the hindwing has four black eye spots each with a yellow border. The top is orange with black spots whereas the apical area of the forewing is black with white spots. The orange hair on the body is striking. Host plant: Thistle, Mallow, and Common Nettle. Dutch name: Distelvlinder. Frisian name: Stikelflinter.
Red Admiral – 2008 (NL)
The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) is a very common long-distance migrant that flies around in several generations from March to November. Each spring and continuing through the summer, there are northward migrations from North Africa. They are typically seen on Buddleias or Flowering Ivy and on rotting fruit. The top of the wing is black with an orange-red band and white spots at the apical area. An orange-red band with black small dots runs along the termen of the hindwing. The wingspan is ranging from 67-72mm. Females lay eggs and consequently there is an emergence of fresh butterflies, from about July onwards. Host plant: Common Nettle. Dutch name: Atalanta. Frisian name: Nûmerflinter.
American Painted Lady – 2017 (CO)
I discovered the American Painted Lady (Vanessa virgiensis) in Medellín (Colombia). The colors of this specimen, mainly the orange color, are brighter than those of the European Painted Lady. On the top of the hindwing are two black large spots with a white stain in them, in contrast to the European specimen where 4 small blue spots are present. Two dark spots can be seen on the underside of the hindwing, surrounded by a black thin circle. For the European species, there are four spots. Host plant: Jersey Cudweed. Dutch name: Distelvlinder (Amerikaans). Frisian name: Súdlike stikelflinter.
Brown Peacock – 2017 (NL)
The Brown Peacock (Anartia amathea) is mainly found around the Andes mountains. I spotted this beautifully colored large brush-foot in Medellín (Colombia). Fresh specimens have a nice bright red band on the upper side of both the fore- and hindwings. This bright red color changes into black towards the costa. On the hindwing, the white moon spots change to red, while on the forewing only white spots are present. As the butterfly ages, the red color changes to orange. The two narrow red or orange-colored narrow bands on the forewing remain intense in color. The females often have a less intense color than the males. Host plant: herbaceous plants. Dutch name: Scharlaken dagpauwoog. Frisian name: –
White Peacock – 2017 (CO)
The White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae) is a butterfly that is mainly found in Central and South America. This beautiful large brush-foot was spotted in Medellín (Colombia). The top of the wing is white with light brown markings and a double row of light-colored moons. The forewing has one black and round spot and the hindwing two. As the butterfly ages, the colors fade and appear almost white. The White Peacock is a real sun lover. In the morning it still flutters low to the ground, but as soon as the temperature rises it sits comfortably on a leaf and spreads its wings, enjoying the sun. Host plant: Water Hyssop, Phyla, and Wild Petunia. Dutch name: Witte dagpauwoog. Frisian name: –