Nymphalidae are a widely distributed family of butterflies with some 5,000 species.
This is group of butterflies are named for their characteristically reduced forelegs that are frequently hairy and resemble brushes. The insects' alternative name derives from the fact that there are only four functional, or walking, legs. Most species have a wingspan of 35–90 mm and white, yellow, or brown wings with contrasting markings and undersurfaces often with duller, more protective coloration.
Common nymphalids include the anglewing, fritillary, mourning cloak, thistle, and viceroy butterflies. Most nymphalid larvae are brightly coloured. The naked pupae, or chrysalids, hang head downward.
Many species are brightly colored and they include popular species such as the emperor, admirals, tortoiseshells and fritillaries. However, the underwings are dull and in some species look remarkably like dead leaves, or are much paler, producing a cryptic effect that helps the butterfly disappear into its surroundings.