The Emperor of India Butterfly forms an extremely rare species of swallowtail butterfly. Sadly, their beauty also forms their curse. This stunning insect species remains highly sought after by collectors.The Emperor of India Butterfly forms an extremely rare species of swallowtail butterfly and is stunningly beautiful. Click To Tweet
The Emperor of India Butterfly now has legal protection in much of its endemic range. However, enforcement continues to be lax, and illegal collecting remains rampant.
Emperor of India Butterfly Physical Characteristics
The Emperor of India Butterfly, as you can easily see, forms one of the most beautiful on earth. Their physical distinctiveness is easily explored:
- Sexual dimorphism appears present in not one but two ways. The female grows to almost twice the size of the male and attains wingspans of as much as 5.1 in (13 cm).
- The colors of the females show much more subtle than those of the smaller males.
- The upper side of the wings of both genders shows predominantly black.
- While the females predominantly have black on the underside as well, the males predominantly present a bright iridescent green on the underside. What a remarkable evolutionary adaptation. The color actually comes from a three-dimensional photonic structure of the scales. How cool is that?
Emperor of India Butterfly Distribution and Ecology
The Emperor of India Butterfly is extremely rare and only exists in small concentrations in Bhutan, Nepal, India, Burma, northern Vietnam, and Sichuan province, China.
They appear to prefer high-altitude forest regions and are rarely found at altitudes of less than 6,000 ft (1,800 m). The butterfly is a comparatively powerful flier and typically remains near the canopy.
Last, the males are highly territorial which is rare among butterflies.