Subfamily: Nymphalinae

Family:NymphalidaeRafinesque, 1815
Subfamily:NymphalinaeRafinesque, 1815
Type Genus:NymphalisKluk, 1780


Family: Nymphalidae

The Nymphalidae is a family of several thousand species found in all zoogeographical regions of the world. Most are medium or large in size, but the family is highly variable given that it also includes the Satyrinae, a subfamily that has been designated as a family in its own right in earlier classifications.

The forelegs in both sexes are vestigial and useless for walking. In the male, there are typically only 2 tarsal joints and the legs have a brush-like appearance, resulting in a common name for this family - the "brush-footed butterflies". The female foreleg has 4 tarsal joints which, when compared with the male, provides a mechanism of determining the sex of the adult. The midleg and hindleg are normal in both sexes and both tibia and tarsus may have spines.

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Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne)
Photo © Nigel Kiteley

White Admiral (Limenitis camilla)
Photo © Peter Eeles

The forewing always has 12 veins. Given the variability of this family, there are no further distinguishing characteristics that apply to the family as a whole.

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Nymphalidae (Danainae)
Danaus plexippus

Nymphalidae (Satyrinae)
Pyronia tithonus

Nymphalidae (Nymphalinae)
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Boloria selene

Photo © Timothy Freed, whose original drawings are shown in Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland, Volume 7, Issue 1 (Emmet & Heath, 1989)

Subfamily: Nymphalinae

Description to be completed.


This subfamily is represented by the following tribes:


This subfamily is represented by the following genera:


This subfamily is represented by the species shown below.

Zebra - imago - Studley Grange Butterfly World - 15-Jul-07 [James Bailey]

Colobura dirce
Photo © James Bailey

Red Admiral - Solihull West Midlands 28.07.2013

Red Admiral
Vanessa atalanta
Photo © Neil Freeman

Painted-Lady- 5D30342 Lincs 18 Aug 2013

Painted Lady
Vanessa cardui
Photo © IainLeach

American Painted Lady female - Cook County, Illinois, USA 12-June-2005 [Tom Bentley]

American Painted Lady
Vanessa virginiensis
Photo © Tom Bentley

Indian Red Admiral - Lunglei, Mizoram, India 11-Oct-2011 [Milind Bhakare]

Indian Red Admiral
Vanessa indica
Photo © Milind Bhakare

Small Brown Shoemaker female - Ruiz Cortines, Veracruz, Mexico 5-June-2008 [Bill Bouton]

Small Brown Shoemaker
Hypanartia lethe
Photo © Bill Bouton

Peacock, Findon Valley, Sussex 8-Aug-2012

Aglais io
Photo © Neil Hulme

Small Tortoiseshell, Wiggonholt (31 August 2011)

Small Tortoiseshell
Aglais urticae
Photo © Mark Colvin

Camberwell Beauty - imago - Thatcham - 25-Jul-08 (1) {REARED}

Camberwell Beauty
Nymphalis antiopa
Photo © Pete Eeles

Large Tortoiseshell, Littlehampton Bridge, Sussex 26 June 2007

Large Tortoiseshell
Nymphalis polychloros
Photo © Neil Hulme

Scarce Tortoiseshell - male - Thatcham - 22-Jun-15 [REARED]-11

Scarce Tortoiseshell
Nymphalis xanthomelas
Photo © Pete Eeles

Comma - Chaldon, Surrey 19-March-11

Polygonia c-album
Photo © Vince Massimo

Map - male - Thatcham - 26-Apr-14 [REARED]-2

Araschnia levana
Photo © Pete Eeles

Blue Pansy - imago - Bobiri National Reserve, Ghana - Nov-04 [Mike Weiner]

Blue Pansy
Junonia oenone
Photo © Mike Weiner

Meadow Argus [David Cook]

Albin's Hampstead Eye
Junonia villida
Photo © David Cook

Marsh Fritillary - Fontmell Down 23-May-2015

Marsh Fritillary
Euphydryas aurinia
Photo © Reverdin

Glanville Fritillary- Compton Bay IOW 23-May- 2016 (1)

Glanville Fritillary
Melitaea cinxia
Photo © Buchan Boy

Spotted Fritillary - Cantabria N-Spain

Spotted Fritillary
Melitaea didyma
Photo © johnb

Heath-Fritillary- 5D39908. Kent, June 2015

Heath Fritillary
Melitaea athalia
Photo © IainLeach