<< Previous Next >>

Emperor's Behaviour.

Emperor's Behaviour.
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Stoeckl (peter_stoeckl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-06-17
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC-H5
Exposure: f/8, 1/200 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): European Butterflies 7 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-06-24 15:27
Viewed: 4395
Points: 32
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Emperor's Behaviour.

Apatura iris (Linnaeus, 1758)

Purple Emperor,
Grosser Schillerfalter,
Stor Skimmerfjaeril,
Le Grand Mars,

Wingspan approx. 75mm.

Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Apaturinae

Like its insignificantly smaller cousin, the Lesser Purple Emperor (Apatura ilia), the male of the Purple Emperor (Apatura iris L.) shows a strong blue iridescence on the upper side of their wings - obviously in order to impress females and/or to chase away rivalling males.

For a comparison of both species, here is a similar capture of Apatura ilia, taken the same day at the same location:

> Apatura ilia 17.6.2007, Rohrwald, Lower Austria,

To compare the uppersides of wings:

> Apatura ilia 24.6.2005, Stopfenreuth, Lower Austria,
> Apatura ilia 27.5.2007, Lobau, Vienna,

> Apatura iris 3.7.2004, Rohrwald, Lower Austria,
> Apatura iris 17.6.2007, Rohrwald, Lower Austria.

Male Emperors are claiming and defending a territory of their own, and everyone entering that territory will be attacked - even humans.

At rest, these butterflies just want to stay undiscovered and left in peace. The undersides of wings shown at rest are made for camouflage. Colours are subdued, while strongly contrasting markings are dissolving the contours.

There is also a clearly visible eyespot on the underside of the upper wings that tends to be hidden behind underwings at rest but will be presented in activity. That spot obviously has developed to serve as a mimicry warning attempt against predators that have not been distracted by camouflage. The eye seems to pretend to belong to a much larger and dangerous animal.

Caterpillars live on willows (Salix). The butterflies can be seen from late June through July in one generation, never far away from the trees where they breed.

Apatura iris is reported from a few locations in Portugal and Spain (Sierra de Guadarrama) through France and the southern UK, into central and eastern Europe, going as for north as the Baltic states, Southern Sweden (first reported in 1985), southern Finland, Kasachstan, Amur, northeast China, Korea.

The species is missing or very rare in the southern parts of Europe. It inhabits lowland and mountain river valleys up to approximately 1000 meters above sealevel.

By the way, an Emperor taking a seat on your fingertips does not show any unnatural behaviour. These butterflies are fond of licking liquids containing minerals, and therefore they love to sit down on mammals like our own species. Emperor butterflies are also attracted by all sorts of animal dung, so their kisses may not always be the cleanest ones.

The location:
The picture was taken at the marshy borders of Rohrwald forest near the town of Korneuburg, a few miles to the northwest of Vienna. A splendid and quite unique place in early summer to watch butterflies that have become very rare or even extinct in most other places of Europe.

The camera:
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 6mm wideangle macro zoom (equivalent 35mm at full size SLR), F/8, 1/200 sec., exposure bias -0.3, ISO-125, hand held, no flash. 17.06.2007, 17:57.

Photoshop Elements. Slightly cropped, auto-levels, downsized to web, slightly resharpened.

Thank you for looking.
Have a very good start of the week.

Enough said on Emperors' behaviour, but maybe funny to note that Emperor butterflies are fond to kiss their visitors' hands. Human emperors prefer to have it the other way round.

nglen, Maite, Proframe, anel, Alex99, phlr, blakitan, marhowie, jmp, limier, angybone has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To limier: magic BGpeter_stoeckl 1 08-03 02:29
To marhowie: ... one of the best finger landings :)peter_stoeckl 1 07-27 00:48
To jmp: ... the nature of butterflies' kissespeter_stoeckl 1 07-26 12:13
To anel: Fingerspitzengefühlpeter_stoeckl 1 06-25 16:43
To jonathan_hart: ... a butterfly posing on my fingerpeter_stoeckl 1 06-25 04:14
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2007-06-24 16:21]

WOW again, Peter!
What a fantastic capture of the Purple Emperor perfectly tamed on your finger and feeding from it! Ha,ha. I love it!
I didn't know this species could be found in 'Sierra de Guadarrama' I'll have to go round there some day :o)
You gained a magnificent sharp and clear picture with only one hand.
Thank you very much for it and for the excellent note.
Greetings and best wishes

  • Great 
  • trinko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 587 W: 78 N: 322] (4321)
  • [2007-06-24 16:44]

nice focus and colors. good composition with the insect on your finger

it's not the first time i see a photo of a butterfly on a finger, man, how do they do ? never had a butterfly posing on my finger !!
excellent quality, good capture of that lucky moment ;)

Hello Peter
Very beautiful image of this very beautiful butterfly.
Wonderful how it sits on your fingers licking the minerals of it.
Great note, WS and sharpness.
Details and the way the butterfly does stand out against the green and blue colors of the BG are wonderful.
Thanks for sharing.
Warm regards, Harry

Hi Peter,
Stunning the focus on the butterfly!
I like so much the sharpness and the vivid colours got all over.
Details on the wings are remarkable, what a beauty patterns!
You seems to have an excellent connection with the butterfly, looks so confident on your fingertips!
Congratulations and thanks for share it.
My best regards,

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-06-25 7:41]
  • [+]

Hallo Peter,
Hab lange nachgedacht, wie ich es schreiben soll. Eigentlich schätze ich Darstellungen mit Fingerspitzen im Bild gar nicht. Es ist irgendwie ein störendes Element und ich kann mich am Bild nicht so recht erfreuen. Aber beim Durschauen Deiner Workshopfotos hab ich welche gesehen, die auf alle Fälle sehr gelungen sind und Deine Texte sind immer von Topqualität und auf alle Fälle Punkte Wert (Ich denke , es geht Dir ja sowieso nicht um diese). In der Hoffnung, dass Du meine Ehrlickeit nicht zu übel nimmst, schicke ich ein freundliches Lächeln nach Wien..
Herzliche Grüsse

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-06-25 9:18]

Hi, dear Peter.
Once again my favorite subject and perfect set of workshops with brilliant note. Landscape of your picture is separate nice shot but as BG for so wonderful butterfly it is fantastic. Brilliant reproduction of all butterfly features. Amazing light, colours and details. Perfect detailed, fine scenery. Bravo. I feel myself near you at this moment. My best wishes and TFS.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2007-06-25 13:46]

Hi Peter. Excellent shot of the Butterfly. very clear detail .and rich colours. spot on focus. Great POV. and DOF. very well done TFS. good notes to.


Funny tounge in cheek note about behaviour, Peter! So you have your very own pet emperor! Excellent picture with great detail and lovely pov showing us the surroundings from a human eye level.

Hi Peter,
Perfect DoF,sharply focused.
Lovely natural colors.
It seems to be a very friendly guy.
Superb shot.


Hello Peter,
Perhaps one of the best finger landings I've seen documented here on TN :)
The emperor is very sharp and clear, with excellent color, DOF & details. I do enjoy how your camera brings in the BG, it works very nicely here..Exemplary note.
Very well done, Thank You.

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-07-01 12:57]
  • [+]

Hi Peter,
Good to know the nature of butterflies' kisses! Excellent details, colours, light and composition. Good to see background too!
TFS, José Miguel

Hi Peter
Now I'm sure that you are the master of batterflies.
They love you so much. I tried this many times but with little effect.
Excellent shot great POV and a beautiful butterfly on your hand.
The BG is also something magic.Looks like you shot this butterfly in front of a landscape photo
TFS ans see you

  • Great 
  • CCD Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 21 W: 0 N: 25] (422)
  • [2007-08-03 4:10]

Hi Peter,

Super clear shot. Just the right amount of BG, you can see it but it doesnt detract from the subject. The tongue is a great bit of detail.

TFS Chris

Super Bild peter
grandiose schärfe und idealer hintergrund
guter moment

How wonderful!!!
Not only a wonderful photo technically but it brings a smile to my face! :) It's always beautiful to see the interaction between man and 'other.' :)

Calibration Check