Types of Purple Butterflies

Written by brent t. edwards
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Types of Purple Butterflies
The Queen Purple-Tip Butterfly (African"purple tip" butterfly, e-collage image by Tamara Kulikova from Fotolia.com)

Purple butterflies, which can be found across the world, can be especially striking. A large percentage of purple butterflies come from the Nymphalidae family, known for its colourful variety. Most of the examples here are not pure purple; rather, they contain purple amid other colourations and patterns.

While it would be impractical to list every specimen, here are a few of the more stunning examples, broken down by region.

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North American Purple Butterflies

Although the majority of the world's butterflies are found in North America, purple is a rare shade among these domestic species.

The Great Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina) is also known as Blue Moon. These butterflies come in a variety of colours; some have large blue-and-purple spots on their black wings.

The Red-Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) typically features both colours suggested by the name.

The Great Purple Hairstreak (Atlides halesus) is, beyond its punk-rock name, primarily blue with red spots. This can nonetheless create a purple hue and overlapping of colour to various shades.

The Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) is a black-winged species with a row of blue dots on the edge of its wings. It is also found in Europe.

European, Asian, and African Purple Butterflies

The Purple Emperor (Apatura iris) is a species found in Europe, especially Britain. This butterfly has iridescent wings that show purple in the sunlight.

The Queen-Purple-Tip (Colotis regina) is white with contrasting violet-purple tips on its wings. It is found in Africa and Asia.

The Purple Swallowtail (Graphium weiskei) sports a beautiful spectral pattern of colours on its unusually shaped wings. It is exclusively found in Papua New Guinea.

The Archduke butterfly (Lexias pardalis) is noted for the purple pattern on the lower edges of its wings. It is a resident of southeast Asia.

The Purple Mort Bleu (Eryphanis polyxena) is chiefly bluish in colour, though there are varieties in which the blue colour tends toward the purple/indigo side of the spectrum. It is found in Europe.

The Eastern Purple Crow (Euploea tulliolus) is ruddy purple in colour. It is found in eastern Asia and the Pacific region, especially Australia.

Types of Purple Butterflies
Butterflies come in a variety of colours. (butterflies image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com)

South American Purple Butterflies

The Purple-topped Euselasia (Euselasia regipennis eupepla) is one of the more stunningly purple varieties of any insect.

The Purple-washed Euselasia (Euselasia euoras) has a brilliant fleck of purple on its lower set of wings; it is also found in Costa Rica.

The Glowing Euselasia (Euselasia leucophryna) has a body and wings that are pale purple.

Types of Purple Butterflies
The colour of the caterpillar is not indicative of the colour of the adult butterfly it will become. (caterpillar image by Alexander Reitter from Fotolia.com)

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