Lesser purple emperor (Apatura ilia)

The Lesser Purple Emperor (Apatura ilia) is a captivating butterfly species found in various parts of Europe and Asia. It belongs to the Nymphalidae family and is renowned for its regal appearance and graceful flight.

Despite its name, the Lesser Purple Emperor is anything but “lesser” in terms of beauty. Its wings boast a rich, iridescent purple hue, which varies in intensity depending on the angle of light and the individual specimen. This shimmering coloration, coupled with intricate black and white markings, creates a striking visual spectacle.

The Lesser Purple Emperor is typically found in wooded habitats, particularly in deciduous forests with rich understories. It has a unique behavior of perching high in the tree canopy, where it feeds on tree sap and occasionally descends to feed on flower nectar.

Males of the species are often observed engaging in territorial behavior, defending favored perches in the canopy and patrolling their territory to seek out females. Females lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants, including willows and poplars, where the larvae feed before pupating and emerging as adult butterflies.

Despite its beauty, the Lesser Purple Emperor can be challenging to spot due to its elusive nature and preference for forested habitats. Conservation efforts focused on preserving its woodland habitats are crucial for ensuring the continued survival of this majestic butterfly species.

Subscribe to the newsletter: