Apatura iris - Purple Emperor

Apatura-iris-purple-emperor | PTKbutterflies
Apatura-iris-purple-emperor | PTKbutterflies
Apatura-iris-purple-emperor | PTKbutterflies
Apatura-iris-purple-emperor | PTKbutterflies
Apatura-iris-purple-emperor | PTKbutterflies
Apatura-iris-purple-emperor form lugenda | PTKbutterflies
Apatura-iris-purple-emperor form lugenda | PTKbutterflies

This is perhaps the most highly sought after and regarded butterfly for the English, achieving almost legendary status with it's combination of grace, power, and elusiveness. Thankfully one is able to find it in the right places, and it never disappoints. 

 

The three left sided images are of males, and the two on the right females. Note the top male has a rather large amount of rust colouring, which I believe is not usual.

 

I have also been blessed with the experience of seeing one of the aberrant "Black Emperor" versions, though not the most extreme version, but the "lugenda" form.. see page bottom 

These two images of the upper and underside of the same butterfly are of the form lugenda. It was completely different in the air to the normal variant, much darker, and absolutely fabulous to behold. 

In actual fact, I didn't find it, rather it found me, flying in, circling a few times and coming to rest within feet of me... just as well, I was holding my breath from the moment it arrived!

Probably the rarest wild butterfly photograph I will ever achieve.

Apatura-iris-purple-emperor | PTKbutterflies
Apatura-iris-purple-emperor | PTKbutterflies