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BiologyThis species typically flies high in the tree canopy, and feeds on honeydew produced by aphids, as well as tree sap. Males visit the ground on occasion, in order to obtain salts from dung or from the surfaces of roads with their yellow proboscis. The purple emperor is single-brooded, and adults are on the wing between late June and mid-August (5). Females lay bright green eggs singly on the upper surface of the leaves of the willow foodplants. The eggs hatch after two weeks, and the caterpillars begin to feed (4). They are beautifully camouflaged, and rest on the midribs of leaves on a pad of silk, the font part of the body slightly raised from the leaf (5). During the autumn the caterpillars commence hibernation (4), taking refuge in the forks of branches or willow buds. They start to feed again the following April (5), and towards the end of June they form a leaf-like pupa, which hangs underneath leaves. Adults emerge after around two weeks (4).