We are pleased to announce that His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of the Woods, the Monarch of all the Butterflies, the High Spirit of the Midsummer Trees, The One of Whom the Nightingale Sings, to list but a few of the Purple Emperor's many illustrious titles, has once again won our Butterfly of the Year award. The general standard during 2012 was of course low, and our butterfly only emerged in disappointing numbers and went on to produce a desirory number of autumn larvae. However, 2012 was the year in which iris varred, spectacularly. At least seven acutely aberrant specimens were seen, in three counties. Four of these were photographed. And that, gentlemen and Lady, is championship material, at least for a year without a summer, wherein few of other butterflies did anything other than badly (Euphrosyne, Aglaja, Atalanta and Coridon also performed well, at least locally).
Here is one of those aberrations, a splendid female ab. lugenda photographed in Fermyn Woods on 23rd July -
And here is Herself's underside -
We are also pleased to announce that, by mutual agreement, 2012 has been terminated early. Bring on 2013!