Wingspan 45 - 62mm. The ground colour of the fore and hind-wings is bright orange. The front edges of the fore-wings have alternate blackish and yellow marks and the fore and hind-wings have dark brown near the insect's body. The wings are bordered on their outer edges with a black line with blue crescents along it.
A wide variety of habitats are used, including hedgerows, gardens and meadows. The adults are fond of Creeping Thistles but many other flowers are visited. The caterpillar feeds on nettles.
Status and distribution
Common and widespread throughout Britain, although the population has declined in recent years. Common in Nottinghamshire and at Netherfield Lagoons.
Best time to see
March to September.