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Purple Emperor Butterflyl aqua

Affectionately known as “His Majesty”

35mm Film Scans.

Purple Emperor Butterfly (Apatura Iris)

Purple Emperor Butterfly Larvae.

To film these magnificent Butterflies I bought some eggs from a butterfly farm and reared the caterpillars in my garden and then brought a Sallow tree to rear the larvae which I covered in netting. The caterpillars while small hibernated naturally on the tree through the winter on a silk pad.  Both the caterpillar and pupae are well camouflaged. The texture and appearance of the full-grown caterpillars reminded me of a hawk moth and the large pupae disguised like a leaf.

I don’t know if I can sleeve caterpillars again in my garden because of a neighbours damn wood burner in his house, the smoke killed off my Kentish Glory moths not helped by him burning wooden crates soaked in chemicals he is burning wood now. Later I transferred the pupae to cages when the first male butterfly hatched  “His Majesty” as he is called I was memorised by its large size and beautiful iridescent wings that shine blue or purple in the light. The female is brown. Now restricted to southern England the butterflies spend most of there time in treetops, they feed on aphid honeydew occasionally the butterflies especially the males leave the woodland canopy to feed on the moist ground for salts and minerals. Also carrion, animal droppings, and tree sap.  Many observers lure the males with all sorts of pungent mixes like Danish blue cheese, shrimp paste, even cat food, it's certainly worth experimenting.

Purple Emperor Butterfly Pupae