Get to know 7 Purple Butterfly Species

There are many beautiful butterflies, such as Purple emperor, recognizable for their purple iridescent shine. Below you'll find the most interesting species so you can quickly notice them if they visit.

1. Purple Emperor Butterfly

Purple emperor
Purple emperor

The Purple emperor (Apatura iris) belongs to the family Nymphalidae, genus Apatura. They’re known to feed on rotting animal matter, but their beauty makes people ignore this strange behavior.

Prettier than most dragonflies, the Purple emperor has mostly black dorsal sides. Some adult butterflies display a dark brown color at the wing base, paired with unique white bands and spots. There’s also an orange spot present on each of the hindwings.

The ventral side of the primary wings has an eyespot. From below, the Purple emperor looks like a black butterfly with white bands.

This butterfly species likes dense, broadleaved woodlands. They’ll often visit oak woodlands, as oak trees are their hosts. Some subspecies will head over to areas filled with poplar.

Free Butterfly Garden Mastery Course

Sign up for our five-email course that will teach you how to identify, observe and attract butterflies to your garden.

The Purple emperor is limited to central-southern England. Its numbers are declining, and it has a butterfly conservation priority medium.

2. White Admiral (Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly)

purple butterfly species
Purple butterfly species

White admiral, also called Red-spotted purple butterfly (Limenitis arthemis), is one of the North American species from the genus Limenitis. This is another beautiful dark blue butterfly with prominent white bands on its wings. Males and females are similar in appearance, yet females are slightly more brown and larger.

Adults feed on honeydew and will often visit sites that contain Bramble blossom. Still, this is a woodland butterfly that frequents deciduous woods. Some reports claim it was seen in conifer plantations. It will also go to mud puddles and stream banks.

White admiral is located in central and southern England. Some colonies are seen in the eastern counties of Wales. Its distribution declined today, although there’s hope for an increase in numbers.

3. Purple Spotted Swallowtail Butterfly

Purple spotted swallowtail
Purple spotted swallowtail

Purple spotted swallowtail butterfly (Graphium weiskei) belongs to the family Papilionidae, genus Graphium. Being the species of butterfly in the Swallowtail family, it has recognizable tails on its hindwings.

The main color of this butterfly is dark brown, almost black. There are unique yellowish spots on the forewings, paired with the purple area near the butterfly’s body. Its hindwings contain a greenish spread near the body and have two pale purple spots near the tails.

Purple spotted likes rainforests.

These butterflies are found only in the highlands of New Guinea, at elevations of 4,500 to 8,000 feet (1,400 to 2,400 m).

4. Purple Owl Butterfly

Purple owl butterfly (Caligo eurilochus) belongs to the family Nymphalidae, tribe Brassolini, genus Caligo. This large butterfly has a wingspan ranging from 3.9 to 5.3 inches (10 to 13.5 cm).

Its upper and undersides vary in color. The underside of the wings is brownish, black, and creamy white, with a prominent eye spot resembling that of an owl. The upperside coloration ranges from orange and yellow (females) to greenish and blue (males). Their mouths form a coiled tube, and they have short front legs.

This butterfly frequents secondary forests and rainforests. They’re nocturnal or crepuscular, which is why they’ll often hide in shaded areas. Owl butterflies may be seen around heliconia and bananas, as those are their host plants.

This species can be found in Brazil, and Costa Rica, all the way to the Amazon River basin. Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and Venezuela are also their home. Finally, it can be spotted in Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, Peru, Trinidad, and Tobago.

5. Purple Crow Butterfly

Purple crow
Purple crow

Purple crow butterfly (Euploea tulliolus) belongs to the family Nymphalidae, genus Euploea. This tiny butterfly has a wingspan of 1.6 to 3.1 inches (4 to 8 cm).

At first glance, this species may appear black or deep brown. However, due to its purple iridescence, it gets its shine under the sun. The under and upper sides have a row of white spots at the end of the hind and forewings. Depending on how the sun hits its wings, the purple iridescent color may stay contained to hindwings or one wing only.

This butterfly flies near the ground, and it’s relatively common in Brisbane bushland.

Purple crow is seen in Australia, the Solomon Islands, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Singapore.

6. Northern Pearly Eye

purple butterfly species
Purple butterfly species

The Northern pearly eye (Lethe anthedon) belongs to the subfamily Satyrinae, family Nymphalidae, genus Lethe.

This is a North American Lepidoptera with brownish upperside and prominent eye spots located in a row at the edges of hindwings and forewings. Depending on the light, this butterfly may look pale purple.

Northern pearly eye frequents wet woods, streams in hilly areas, or dry wooded barrens. Sometimes it may visit open shrub swamps and stray from nearby woods.

Northern is typical in North America — from central Saskatchewan and eastern Nebraska to Nova Scotia and central Alabama, and Mississippi.

7. Agathina Emperor Butterfly

Agathina emperor
Agathina emperor

Agathina emperor (Doxocopa agathina) is a species of butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, genus Doxocopa. There are 15 subspecies all around Central and South America. Its color varies by sex.

Males are bright blue/purple with dark bodies and a row of dark lines on the wings’ edges. Their forewings also contain several pale spots, some white, some yellowish. Females are darker, usually brownish. Their forewings have characteristic orange bands. Ventral sides are also brownish on both sexes.

This butterfly frequents and breeds in rainforest habitats at an elevation of 5,249 feet (1,600 m). Males are often seen near sunny forests, close to streams, where it feeds on mud puddles.

Guyanas, northern Brazil, and the Amazon region are its home.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Leave a Comment