Fun Tailed Emperor Butterfly Facts For Kids

Anamika Balouria
Feb 20, 2024 By Anamika Balouria
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Learn more about the four-tailed insects by reading these emperor butterfly facts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

The tailed emperor butterflies have been named because their hind wings have two tails on each side. They are native to mainland Australia and are mostly spotted in South Australia and Queensland. They have been spotted in the northern and eastern parts of Australia.

Sexual dimorphism does not exist in them. Their wide wings are colorful, from black to cream, brown to tan, and orange. The green caterpillar has a hard head capsule with four horns which appear like a crown on its head. Omnivores on the basis of their food habits make them feed on both green plants and rotting fruits. They are attracted to fermented fruit juices.

Female tailed emperors are larger in size than their male counterparts. The eggs are laid one at a time on the plants. The male emperors are very dominating in their territory. Generally, the males are spotted at a range of higher altitudes in trees. They are harmless and their sites can be enjoyed annually in late spring-early summer (March), late summer-early autumn (August-October).

Learn some interesting facts about other emperor butterflies such as the purple emperor butterfly facts and the hackberry emperor butterfly facts.

Tailed Emperor Butterfly Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tailed emperor butterfly?

The tailed emperor, Polyura sempronius, is an arthropod that belongs to the same family Nymphalidae of queen butterfly. They are beautiful butterflies with narrow tails on their hind wings. It was noticed that these species were mostly confined in South Australia's Adelaide.

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

The tailed emperor butterfly belongs to the Insecta class and genus Charaxes. Earlier, they were known by the scientific name Polyura sempronius but are now well known by the name Charaxes sempronius.

How many tailed emperor butterflies are there in the world?

There are many tailed emperors, Polyura sempronius, throughout the world. The exact number of these species is unknown and they are classified as of Least Concern by the IUCN.

Where does a tailed emperor butterfly live?

The tailed emperor, Polyura sempronius, can be spotted mostly in South Australia, specifically in Adelaide. They are also spotted in north and eastern Australia, such as in Brisbane, Queensland. From the evidence, it has been spotted in native places such as Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria.

What is a tailed emperor butterfly's habitat?

The tailed emperor's habitat is the warm, humid, tropical, and subtropical regions of South Australia. The tailed emperor butterfly caterpillar is spotted on host plants such as black locusts, sweet potato, and honey locusts. The adult male butterfly is spotted on treetops and hilltops. They are most evident in the month of March.

Who do tailed emperor butterflies live with?

The tailed emperor butterfly does not congregate in large numbers, unlike the cabbage white butterfly. They live alone from the time the eggs are laid until they mature into adult butterflies. If larvae and caterpillars need to feed on host plants during the instar stages, they will follow the silk trails.

How long does a tailed emperor butterfly live?

The tailed emperor butterfly has a lifespan of five to eight months. They are stronger, larger, and more energetic during the summer season, which lasts from March to October, and a little less active during the winter season. Two to three generations can be produced in a single year.

How do they reproduce?

The tailed emperor, Polyura sempronius, is usually found on the treetops, specifically the male emperor butterfly. When they have to mate, the females fly high to the top in order to woe their male counterparts. The female releases a sexual pheromone in the daytime to attract the males. The male dances around the females to lure them for mating. They get attracted and mate by scent, like the smell, behavior, and physical gestures. The female then lays eggs within one to two days after mating and lays eggs one at a time on the fodder plants. The eggs hatch within five to six days and the baby tailed emperor larva comes out of the brown egg and eats the eggshell.

What is their conservation status?

Their conservation status is Least Concern. There are almost two to three generations produced each year. The tailed emperor butterfly and caterpillar are seen throughout the seasons annually.

Tailed Emperor Butterfly Fun Facts

What do tailed emperor butterflies look like?

The upper canopies are where the tail-emperor butterfly is located.

The tailed emperor butterfly-caterpillar are beautiful insect species with a wide range of colors. The wings of an adult are wide, large, and colorful, from white to black, orange to brown, with light-dark spots on them. They have a furry tan-brown thorax and abdomen. Each of the hind wings has two tails. The forewings are broad and mostly dark at the tips. They can smell and sense other species in their territory through their long black antennas.

When the eggs are laid, they are green to yellow and turn brown when they are about to hatch. After two days of eating the green leaf edges, the young larva turns green, and the caterpillar turns completely green with yellow and black lateral lines. The caterpillar has a small capsule-like head with four horns that look like a crown on its strong, large head. They have a forked tail as well.

How cute are they?

The tailed emperor, Polyura sempronius, is cute. Their eggs look like green pearls. The caterpillar and pupa are of a green color which allows them to camouflage and protect themselves. The adults have a large, colorful, white-black wingspan with tails on their hind wings make them more beautiful.

How do they communicate?

There is no evidence of their communication. Generally, they communicate with physical gestures, behavior, and certain smells of their own species. The male emperor chases away another male from their range of territory while allowing the female to mate.

How big is a tailed emperor butterfly?

The tailed emperor butterfly is 2.9-3.4 in (7.5-8.5 cm) long with a large wingspan. The female's wingspan is larger at 3.4 in (8.5 cm), while the male's wingspan is 2.9 in (7.5 cm). The final instar of the caterpillar is 2 in (5.5 cm). The morpho butterfly is large and big in comparison to the tailed emperor butterfly.

How fast can a tailed emperor butterfly fly?

There is no evidence of how fast they fly, but they generally fly at a fast speed on hilltops, especially their male counterparts.

How much does a tailed emperor butterfly weigh?

The weight of the tailed emperor butterfly is unknown. Usually, they are light-weighted, which allows them to fly at a range of higher altitudes with strong wind.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for females or males.

What would you call a baby tailed emperor butterfly?

The baby tailed emperor butterfly is called a larva after it hatches out of the eggs laid on host plants.

What do they eat?

They are omnivores and feed on both plants, as well as, the dead and decaying. The caterpillar and larva feed on trees and plants like hackberries, sweet potatoes, honey locusts, black locusts, etc.

Are they dangerous?

They do not pose a threat. They only eat plants and rotten fruit juices. There has been no evidence that they are harmful.

Would they make a good pet?

They would make good pets because of their harmless nature, but they should be left in the open where they can live in their optimal conditions in the south.

Did you know...

The tailed emperor butterfly was first described by the Danish zoologist, Johan Christian Fabricius, in 1793.

The pupa of these species is green in color and is camouflaged like a hanging green leaf.

The tailed emperor butterflies are rare.

Why is it called tailed emperor butterfly?

They have four tails on their hind wings, which adds to their beauty. Their name comes from the tails on their hind wings.

Tailed emperor butterfly vs monarch butterfly

The monarch butterflies are larger than the tailed emperor butterflies, measuring 3-4 in (8-10 cm). The monarch butterfly is a herbivore, whereas, the emperor butterfly is an omnivore.

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

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

Tailed Emperor Butterfly Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Black locusts, dung, tree sap, kurrajong

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?


What habitat Do they Live In?

tropical and subtropical regions

Where Do They Live?


How Long Were They?

2.9-3.4 in (7.5-8.5 cm) (wingspan)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Polyura sempronius

What Do They Look Like?

Black, brown, white

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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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.
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