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Emerged after c.III 10501
Found among the treetops of Mirkwood
Turned black in colour either by the spreading Shadow of Dol Guldur, or as camouflage against the darkness of the Mirkwood
A variety of butterfly, related to the purple emperor (Apatura iris)
Derived from the real butterfly named 'purple emperor', to which the black emperor was similar except in colouration


About this entry:

  • Updated 26 November 2014
  • This entry is complete

Black Emperor

A variety of butterfly found in Mirkwood

Encyclopedia of Arda Timeline
Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond

Several of the creatures living in the darkness of Mirkwood had acquired dark colouration, from squirrels to moths, and the butterflies living in the treetops were no exception. These butterflies seem to have been related to the 'purple emperor', a real type of butterfly with patterned wings of white and iridescent blue. The 'black emperors' of Mirkwood had no such markings, with their wings showing instead as plain and black. They were prey to the many spiders that lurked among the trees of the Forest.



The black colour of these butterflies' wings appeared in response to the coming of the Shadow in Mirkwood, which was first seen in about III 1050.

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