Summer is in full swing at the moment (if you hadn’t noticed from the heat) and everyone in the ecology department is constantly busy surveying everything from crayfish to dormice to birds and plenty more. Much to my joy I have been tasked with a lot of the butterfly surveys on our sites and have had the pleasure of seeing an abundance of some of the UK’s most striking butterflies like the marbled white and the silver-washed fritillary and even some of the rarer species such as the white admiral. I have also been entrusted with surveying the illustrious purple emperor!
This elusive species has fascinated people for centuries and with good reason. To most, it is a magnificent butterfly just to behold. It is Britain’s second largest species, second only to the swallowtail, with a potential wingspan of 90mm and the male has a fantastic purple iridescence which gives the species its namesake. This aside however, it is also one of the most charismatic species in the UK due to its peculiar diet and weird and wonderful behaviour.