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Ilia. (54)
peter_stoeckl Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Ilia.

Having been absent from this site for many days due to an excessive workload at my job, I am lucky to be back again. Feeling very happy about the positive feedbacks I received from many of you on my latest postings, I am feeling gratefully obliged to sit down to return these favours in the next few days to come.

Now this is on Ilia, the Emperor's "brother", another one of the three species of flashy Emperor butterflies that may be seen in Europe.


Apatura ilia (Denis & Schiffermüller 1775).

Lesser Purple Emperor,
Kleiner Schillerfalter,
Liten Skimmerfjäril,
Le Petit Mars,
Tornada chica,
Ilia.

Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Apaturinae

Wing span: 65 - 70 mm.

First described from the river forests near Vienna by Ignaz Schiffermüller in 1775, Apatura ilia, the Lesser Purple Emperor, is similar in appearance and behaviour to Apatura iris (Linnaeus 1758).

Males of both species are claiming and defending a territory of their own. They hardly ever suck nectar from flowers, but use to take water and minerals from wet spots on the ground, and they are attracted by all kinds of decaying substances.

Orange bordered eye spots on the upper sides of forewings are the best indicator to tell Apatura ilia at a first glance from the Purple Emperor. Quite frequently, in the woods near Vienna a variation can be seen with white bands turning ochre:

Apatura ilia "clythie”,

a variation that as far as I know has never been reported from A. iris.

The nominal form of Apatura ilia with clearly white bands is shown here.

Apatura ilia can be met from southern Europe through the temperate zones of central Asia to Japan. The species does not go up as high up into the mountains or as far north as Apatura iris. Ilia is quite common but local in southern central and eastern Europe, and very local in Portugal and Spain. It is not reported from the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, northern Germany, the Baltic States, Scandinavia. But it can be seen in southern France and in Italy, where Iris is missing.

To the south of its distribution, two generations can be observed: May / June, and August / September. North of the Alps, there is usually only one generation in June / July. In the unusually warm year of 2007, I could observe at least one male individual of the second generation by mid August near the Danube at Vienna.

Ilia caterpillars feed on Populus tremulae L. and Populus nigra L.

Literature:
Tom Tolman, Richard Lewington: Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas, Stuttgart 1998.
C.Jonko: Butterflies and Moths of Europe: http://www.lepidoptera.pl/

The camera:
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 72mm tele macro zoom (equivalent 436mm at full size SLR), F/8, 1/250 sec., ISO-125, hand held, no flash. 17.06.2007, 14:17.

Thank you for looking. Have a very good day.


>>> another view?

Hope you enjoy.

Altered Image #1

peter_stoeckl Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Late Afternoon Lustre.
Edited by:peter_stoeckl Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)

Apatura ilia,

seen at the same location of humid forest near the Danube close to Vienna, but taken later in the day - with the more favourable light of late afternoon that made the purple lustre shine like a flash.

The camera:
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 72mm tele macro zoom (equivalent 436mm at full size SLR), F/7.1, 1/320 sec., exposure bias -0.3, ISO-125, hand held, no flash. 17.06.2007, 17:14.

Hope you enjoy.