Friday, 24 July 2015

Purple Emperor: The butterfly that feeds on rotting flesh

By Emma AilesBBC News

23 July 2015 

Apatura iris.jpegFor a few weeks in July, groups of people can be found wandering English woods carrying strange produce - including rotting fish, Stinking Bishop cheese and dirty nappies. They're out to bait the Purple Emperor, one of Britain's most elusive butterflies, whose beauty disguises some filthy feeding habits.

You never forget your first time, says butterfly enthusiast Neil Hulme.

"My dad and I were walking through the woods, and we came across a woman in her 30s wearing stars-and-stripes trousers, bent over. Some men in tweed with cameras and long lenses were photographing her from behind."

He moved closer and realised they were taking pictures of a Purple Emperor butterfly that had landed on her bottom.

Hulme was transfixed by the creature - especially when it fluttered up and landed on his collar.

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