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Third sighting of elusive Purple Emperor butterfly in north Norfolk

The Purple Emperor butterfly at Beeston Common. Pictures: Francis Farrow

The Purple Emperor butterfly at Beeston Common. Pictures: Francis Farrow

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One of Britain’s most elusive butterflies has been spotted for a third time in north Norfolk.

The Purple Emperor butterfly at Beeston Common. Pictures: Francis FarrowThe Purple Emperor butterfly at Beeston Common. Pictures: Francis Farrow

The Purple Emperor was seen at Beeston Common, near Sheringham, just days after the butterly was also spotted at the National Trust’s Sheringham Park.

Britain’s second-largest butterfly is rarely seen in Norfolk, preferring larger woodlands in southern England.

The most recent sighting was made by Beeston Common honorary warden Francis Farrow, who said: “These impressive butterflies have not been seen in Norfolk since the early 1970s apart from some infrequent sightings.

“The butterfly seen at Beeston Common was a female, which is largely brown with white diagonal wing markings, not the impressive iridescent purple male.”

He said one theory was that the butterflies in north Norfolk were from a colony in Suffolk.

Mr Farrow added: “Hopefully enough of these large and beautiful butterflies will arrive and start their own colonies in Norfolk woodlands.”


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