Fun Japanese Emperor Butterfly Facts For Kids

Anamika Balouria
Nov 01, 2022 By Anamika Balouria
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Japanese emperor butterfly facts about the national butterfly of Japan.
?
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

The Japanese emperor butterfly (Sasakia charonda) is the national butterfly of Japan. The butterfly is famous for its iridescent beautiful wide wingspan. This species is native to the Hokkaido, Shikoku, China, Kyushu and Sado Islands. They are specific to the eastern countries, such as Japan, Taiwan, northern Vietnam, and the Korean Peninsula. Many times, they are mistakenly related to the purple emperor butterfly because of their similar features.

Sexual dimorphism exists in this species, which allows us to differentiate between the male Japanese emperor butterfly and its female counterpart. The females have larger wings in comparison to the males, as well as, differ in color. The larvae are considered the most beautiful among all the emperor larvae because of their head capsule with two horns like reindeer.

They mostly feed on host plants, tree sap, and the juice of rotten fruits. The males are very elusive and of dominating nature for their territory and chase away intruders. They are spotted on the top of trees and only come down to feed themselves. The number of these butterflies has decreased drastically in the last few years.

If you enjoyed reading this article, then learn some interesting article facts about other emperor butterflies such as the purple emperor butterfly and the hackberry emperor.

Japanese Emperor Butterfly Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Japanese emperor butterfly?

The Japanese emperor butterfly, scientific name Sasakia charonda, is also known as the great purple emperor and is one of the beautiful butterfly species of Japan. They were first described by the British naturalist, William Chapman Hewitson, in 1863.

What class of animal does a Japanese emperor butterfly belong to?

The great purple Japanese emperor butterfly, Sasakia charonda, belongs to the family of Nymphalidae, the genus Sasakia, and the class Insecta.

How many Japanese emperor butterflies are there in the world?

The exact number of these butterflies has not been recorded. The information available on different internet sources shows that in the last few years, their number has declined.

Where does a Japanese emperor butterfly live?

The great purple emperor, Sasakia charonda is native to the Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Sado Islands. They are seen in several eastern countries, such as Japan, China, Taiwan, northern Vietnam, and the Korean Peninsula.

What is a Japanese emperor butterfly's habitat?

The national butterfly of Japan, Sasakia charonda, lives in the open wildlife of warm woods and beechwood lands. They are most evident in the upper canopies of the treetops in the daylight. The male great purple emperor is elusive and chases away intruders into his territory. They do not share their territory with anyone. The female’s great purple emperor is seen flying around the host plant or the sap of trees. They are mostly seen on tall deciduous trees such as enoki, also known as Japanese hackberry.

Who do Japanese emperor butterflies live with?

There is very little information available about whether they live in groups or alone. The genus the great purple emperor belongs to mostly live-in groups in their larvae and caterpillar stage, whereas, they are solitary when they are fully grown adults.

How long does a Japanese emperor butterfly live?

The life of the great purple emperor butterflies is for a short duration – from the month of May to August in the Northern Hemisphere and November to February in the Southern Hemisphere. Mostly, the caterpillars are seen during April and the pupae are seen over winters.

How do they reproduce?

The female great purple emperor butterfly, Sasakia charonda, lives on the host plant, tree sap, and dungs, whereas, the male great purple flies around on the treetop and only comes down in search of food. The scent of pheromones is released by the female butterfly in order to attract the male. He gets attracted toward the pheromones and dances around the female to lure them. After mating, the eggs are laid on host plants. The young larvae feed on the leaf and grow into a caterpillar and later turn into a moth or butterfly.

What is their conservation status?

There is not much information available on the internet, it is known that there has been a drastic decline in their number from 2008-2017. They have been declared Threatened by the Environment Ministry and the Nature Conservation Society of Japan.

Japanese Emperor Butterfly Fun Facts

What do Japanese emperor butterflies look like?

The male and female Japanese emperor butterfly portray sexual dimorphism.

The national butterfly of Japan looks like the purple emperor butterfly that is native to England. They have common features. The males have iridescent blueish-brown colored wings with white and yellow spots, which make them more beautiful, while the females are brown in color and larger in size. The larvae and caterpillars are cutest among all the other caterpillars. They are green in color with a head like a small capsule which has two triangular small horns, two black eyes, and a small cute black mouth. The Japanese purple emperor butterfly, Sasakia charonda, looks like half a small baby deer and half a caterpillar with yellow lateral lines.

How cute are they?

The great purple emperor butterfly caterpillar is the cutest caterpillar with a cute head like a capsule and two triangular horns and two black eyes. They are, throughout their lifecycle, the cutest creatures.

How do they communicate?

The Sasakia charonda communicates through pheromones, physical gestures, and the behavior of other butterflies within the same species. The caterpillars follow the silk trails, whereas, the adults communicate through their physical gestures, behavior, and pheromones.

How big is a Japanese emperor butterfly?

These species are much smaller than the morpho butterfly. The female wings are larger than the male. They have a wide wingspan of 2-2.6 in (5-6.5 cm).

How fast can a Japanese emperor butterfly fly?

There are not many e-materials available in this regard, but as they are smaller in size, they fly faster like other butterflies.

How much does a Japanese emperor butterfly weigh?

The weight of these insects species is not known, unlike the monarch butterfly which weighs 0.008-0.02 oz (0.2-0.7 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

This species does not have any additional male and female names.

What would you call a baby Japanese emperor butterfly?

The baby of this species is called a Japanese emperor butterfly larva.

What do they eat?

The larvae of this species feed on host plants such as hackberries. The adults mostly feed on dung, juice from rotten fruits, carcasses, and the sap from trees. They are omnivores, whereas, the io moths and the viceroy butterflies are herbivores and insectivores, respectively.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous and no cases have been reported about them causing harm.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, they would make a good pet, but they must be left in their open wildlife space where they can probably live in natural optimal conditions.

Did you know...

Japanese emperor butterflies have been declared Threatened by the Environment Ministry and the Nature Conservation Society of Japan. Many projects have been incorporated by them and the data collected shows that their number declined by 16.1% between 2008 and 2017.

The enoki, tall deciduous trees, are being cut down on a large scale, which is affecting the natural living environment of these butterfly species.

What's unique about the Japanese emperor caterpillar?

The caterpillar is the cutest among all the other species caterpillar. They are green in color with a head like a small capsule, two little black eyes, and two triangular horns which make them appear like half baby deer and half caterpillar.

What is Japan's national butterfly?

The Japanese emperor butterfly, with the scientific name Sasakia charonda, has been the national butterfly of Japan since 1957.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our puss moth interesting facts and luna moth fun facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Japanese emperor butterfly coloring pages.

Japanese Emperor Butterfly Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Hackberries, dung, tree sap, enoki

What Type of Animal were they?

Omnivores

Average Litter Size?

N/A

How Much Did They Weigh?

N/A

What habitat Do they Live In?

deciduous and beechwood regions

Where Do They Live?

japan

How Long Were They?

2-2.6 in (5-6.5 cm) (wingspan)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Insecta

Genus

Sasakia

Family

Nymphalidae

Scientific Name

Sasakia charonda

What Do They Look Like?

Blue, brown

Skin Type

Fur

What Are Their Main Threats?

parasites, humans

What is their Conservation Status?

N/A
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Anamika Balouria

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in Secondary Education and Teaching, Master of Arts specializing in English

Anamika Balouria picture

Anamika BalouriaBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in Secondary Education and Teaching, Master of Arts specializing in English

A dedicated and enthusiastic learner, Anamika is committed to the growth and development of her team and organization. She holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in English from Daulat Ram University and Indira Gandhi Institute for Open Learning respectively, as well as a Bachelor of Education from Amity University, Noida. Anamika is a skilled writer and editor with a passion for continual learning and development.
Read full bio >