Apatura iris - Purple Emperor Butterfly

Image of Aglais io Butterfly

Formal Name: Apatura iris

Informal Name: Purple Emperor Butterfly

Conservation Status: Medium conservation status as they've started to re-expaned in large wooded areas in South England after a previous steady decline.

Location: Europe

Average Wingspan (cm): 8

Seen Between: July- August

Description: Apatura iris is informally known as the Purple Emperor butterfly. They have an average wingspan of 8cm and are found in Europe.

Purple Emperor butterflies often spend their time at the top of trees in wooded areas and are more commonly seen in the South of England. They are likely to be spotted between July and August. The male butterfly can become aggressive when trying to protect its territory from other butterflies. As caterpillars, they tend to eat a plant called goat willow, and the butterflies eat aphid honeydew and tree sap. After a previous decline in the 1900s, there has been a steady rise in numbers in heavily wooded areas.

As their name suggests, they are a shade of purple. Their wings are purple on the upper side with white spots. They are dark brown along the top edge. Towards the bottom edge of the wing, they have a small orange and black eye. On the underside of the wing, they are a light brown colour with patches of white with an orange/ brown eye. This eye aims to deter predators.