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As with several nymphalid butterflies, the caterpillars feed on stinging nettles, hence the name. They are also butterflies which are very sensitive to drought. The drought directly affects the Urtica leaves; the higher the nitrogen and water level in the leaves, the more rapid the growth of the larvae. During a drought, both of these levels drop significantly, leaving the tortoiseshell larvae nothing to feed on. Luckily, Belgium is still a quite rainy place sowe can see these butterflies almost every summer.