I had some other images in mind for today, but my last butterfly-trip (yesterday ) did change my mind. Totaly unexpected I encountered this female Purple Emperor. I'm so exited about this find (never seen this species before) and its such an elegant species that I decided to make it my 200th aminus image.
Apatura iris (Purple Emperor / Grote weerschijnvlinder) is a butterfly of the Nymphalidae family. It is a very rare and local species in Belgium.
Adults have dark brown wings with white lines and a small orange ring on each of the hindwings. Males have an iridescent purple-blue sheen which the females lack. It is a rather large species: the wings measure between 31 (males) and 40 mm (females).
Both females and males spend most of their lives in the tree canopy (making it rather difficult to spot them) coming down only to lay eggs or to drink from puddles or feed. Unlike most butterflies, the purple emperor does not feed from flowers but instead on the honeydew secreted by aphids and on dung, urine and animal carcasses.
Image: Viroinval (BE) - 24/07/2010
© Johan Dierckx
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All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.
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