([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)
- Subfamily: Apaturinae - Apaturini
- Wingspan: 60-65 mm
- Flight period: Jun - Aug
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Salicaceae - Populus sp., Salix sp.
The Apatura ilia also called Lesser Purple Emperor is a showy butterfly with a wingspan of 60-65 mm.
It is distributed in most of Europe with the exception of the United Kingdom of Iceland and Norway. In Italy it is absent only from the Islands. *
The upper part of the wings is dark brown, with metallic blue-violet shades in the male, and has a clear post-discal band on the rear wing. and several bright spots on the front wing. These light areas can be presented in two different aspects; they are white on the butterflies of the ilia form and light fawn in the form clytie . For both forms the front wing also has an orange ocello, which differentiates the species from the congener Apatura iris .**
The Apatura ilia belongs to the Apaturinae subfamily, a subfamily widespread mainly in tropical countries, and counts medium and large butterflies. The Apatura ilia loves forest habitats with poplars and willows.
Bivoltine butterfly adult flickers occur in June-July, for the first generation and in August-September, for the second.
It overwinters in the larva state. It flies quickly, often even gliding several meters above the ground, it can be found on the ground to suck moods from rotting fruits and from moist soil. Sometimes it also sucks the sap from the wounds of the trees.
Territorial species and defends its area from any other butterfly, also of different species.
Present from the basal to the mountain level, it can be found in broad-leaved woods, wooded countryside, and undergrowth areas.
The caterpillar has a green or brown color with yellow and brown bands with two relevant horns on the head.
The larvae feed on Populusa nigra and Populus tremulae (poplar), as well as various species of willows.
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/
** Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten - http://lepiforum.de/