Monday, 3 August 2009

Peacock

Gloriously colourful in this morning's sunshine were several Peacock Butterflies (Inachis io) fluttering between the flowers of the thistles and Hemp Agrimony.
These individuals were making free with the nectar in the Hemp Agrimony flowers near Shipley Hill. We have seen before that the caterpillars feed on nettles and are strange looking things with 'spines' along their bodies. but the adult butterfly is one of our most beautiful insects. With a wingspan of about 3" they can be seen commonly in Britain (except parts of Scotland) feeding on many garden flowers. If disturbed, the adults can produce a strange 'hissing' sound with their wings by rubbing them together in order to put off any potential attack. The eye spots on the wings are also a defensive device as we saw with the 'Gatekeeper' butterfly a few days ago.
They are also seen in Autumn, feeding on fallen and rotting fruit - particularly plums and apples.
The good news is that Peacocks are one of very few butterfly species which have been increasing in number in recent years.
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