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Empress Leilia Butterfly

Natural History

The Empress Leilia Butterfly is a member of the Emperor family of butterflies. It is medium sized (1-3/4 to 2-1/4 inch wingspan) brown butterfly with white spots near the fore wing tips and a band of dark spots and two dark lines following along the wing margin. Caterpillars grow to 1-1/4 inches long, are green, tapered at both ends, and marked with a pair of yellow lines along the top of the body and V-shaped markings on the sides.

Unlike other Emperor butterflies which prefer to land on trees or leaves, the Empress Leilia prefers to rest on the ground.

The Empress Leilia may be found in central and southern Arizona (except for the southwest) as well as south Texas, Mexico and Baja. Their habitat consists of desert washes, canyons and scrub where their main food source, the desert hackberry, grows. 

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