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Butterflies of Mexico, USA & Canada
Immaculate Emperor
Doxocopa laure DRURY, 1773
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - APATURINAE
Tribe - APATURINI
Doxocopa laure Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The genus Doxocopa comprises of 15 medium-large neotropical butterflies from the Apaturini - the same tribe to which the Apatura Purple Emperors of Europe belong.
Doxocopa laure is the largest member of the genus. The deep purple sheen is the result of sunlight refracting from microscopic prismatic ridges on the surface of the scales. The colour is only present in males. It can only be seen when the butterfly is viewed at certain angles, and is more intense in bright sunlight.
Doxocopa laure is found in Texas, Arizona, throughout Central America, and in Jamaica and Cuba. In South America it occurs from Colombia to Brazil and Peru. There are 6 named subspecies.
Habitats
This species breeds in deciduous and evergreen forest at altitudes between about 100-800m.
Doxocopa laure Adrian Hoskins
Lifecycle
The caterpillar feeds on Celtis species ( Ulmaceae ). When fully grown it is green, strongly tapered towards the anal segment, and has a pair of forward-projecting horns on its head.
The chrysalis is probably similar to that of other Apaturines, which are typically flattened laterally, arched dorsally, and superbly camouflaged as living or dead foliage.
Adult behaviour

Males are strongly attracted to peccary wallows and other sources of mineral-rich moisture. They are very nervous and alert, but sometimes settle for a few moments on a boulder, log or tree trunk to bask and feed, with wings fully outspread.

 

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