Saturday, March 14, 2015

Apatura iris in Silly Places

Pleased to report a male Purple Emperor in my friend Melissa Harrison's house in Streatham, SW London, on 25th July 2013.  It released itself, and continued its journey...

That male may well have been a genuine wild insect.  However, we have to be careful as Purple Emperors are included in batches of mixed butterflies released at weddings and other celebratory events.  For example, last July a male was recorded on the butterfly transect at Minnowburn, a wooded valley owned by the National Trust on the western edge of - wait for it - Belfast, Northern Ireland!  Detective work by Catherine Bertrand of BC NI discovered that the butterfly had been released, with other species, at a wedding in Belfast two days previously.  This practice may explain last summer's sighting at Sheringham, near Cromer, on the Norfolk coast.

But you can never tell with Emperors.  In 2007 a female was found squashed on the steps outside the High Court in London!

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