The Scarce Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis xanthomelas) is a species of nymphalid butterfly found in Asia. This butterfly is also referred as Yellow-legged Tortoisehell or Large Tortoiseshell (however, in Europe, "Large Tortoiseshell" is usually reservced for ''Nymphalis polychloros).
Upper side rich orange-yellow, Fore wing has costal margin dusky black on the basal half flecked with brown; two oval black spots in cell, a quadrate subcostal black patch just beyond the discocellulars, a second more oblique irregular black patch beyond this, and three large oval discal black spots, with a smaller dusky patch beyond the lowest spot. Hind wing uniform, with a large subcostal black patch. Fore and hind wings with a common sinuous transverse subterminal black band, and a terminal dusky band flecked with golden brown ; the black subterminal band on the hind wing with an outer border of blue lunules margined outwardly by a slender black line; the fore wing just below the costa, between the black patches beyond the cell and between the outer black patch and subterminal band, prominently pale yellow. In the female, an incomplete series of yellow lunules also borders the subterminal black band on the outer side.
Underside dull ochraceous brown, the basal halt: of both fore and hind wings and a broad terminal margin darker brown ; the wings entirely and thickly covered with slender transverse dark brown striae; irregular cell-marks on the fore wing and a transverse highly sinuous subterminal band of dark blue lunules on both wings: these lunules defined by slender black lines on both sides. Bases of the wings with a clothing of long stiff black hairs, which are blunt at their apices, and on the fore wing extend along the basal half of the costal margin, projecting outwards beyond it. Antennae, head and thorax very dark brown, abdomen fulvous ; beneath very hairy ; palpi, thorax and abdomen dark brown, the abdomen towards the apex paler.
Wing expanse of 63-68 mm.
E. Europe: the Himalayas from Kashmir to Mussoorie; China and Japan.
"Larva. Cylindrical, slightly hairy. Head subquadrate, vertex sharply indented in front, slightly hairy, front and cheeks with several small pointed tubercles. Third to last segments armed with a dorsal row of .short spines, and three lateral rows of long rigid branched spines. Colour dark pupurescent-brown, almost black, palest beneath ; with two dorsal slender yellowish macular lines, and a single similar lateral line, the subdorsal and sublateral areas longitudinally speckled with numerous irregular -shaped yellow dots. Spines black; head black. Reared on willow." (Frederic Moore
quoted in Bingham)
Larval host plants