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Subfamily Apaturinae - Emperors

Asterocampa clyton texana (Texas Tawny Emperor) - Asterocampa clyton - male Hackberry emperor - Asterocampa celtis - Asterocampa celtis - male Tawny Emperor - 5th (final) Instar larva; pupating sequence.  - Asterocampa clyton Hackberry Emperor? - Asterocampa celtis - male Goochland fritillary  - Asterocampa clyton Butterfly on wild grape leaf - Asterocampa celtis Hackberry emperors? - Asterocampa celtis Hackberry Emperor - Asterocampa celtis
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)
Subfamily Apaturinae (Emperors)
Larval hosts of our species are Hackberry (Celtis species). Adults rarely visit flowers, and are more likely to be seen at oozing sap, puddles, rotting fruit, carrion, etc.
Medium-sized butterflies, closely related to the Nymphalinae, and adults are very similar. Ours (and most others) have a characteristic triangular wing shape and sometimes have small eye spots on both the front and hind wings. The larvae are more like those of Satyrinae or Charaxinae in that they have no spines except on the head, and there is a pair of points at the rear of the abdomen that point backwards.

Many species of Doxocopa (including ours) apparently mimic Adelpha in wing pattern, but they are smaller with the same characteristic wing shape as most other members of the Apaturinae. Males of several species of Doxocopa found further south have reflective purple, blue, or green coloring on the upper surface, and are quite beautiful.

These are active, pugnacious butterflies, and males defend territories, usually from a perch on a rock, branch or other elevated position with a good view. Females tend to be a bit more secretive, and less often seen, but are also (at least part of the time) very active and fast, most often staying near the larval host plants.