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The Hissing Butterfly

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Just like the beautiful Peacock birds (Peafowl) of India, our resident Peacock butterflies have their own unique display.  But the butterflies put on their display for very different reasons.  While the display of the Peafowl is designed to attract attention, the Peacock butterfly display is designed to ward off unwanted attention.

The Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) is one of the few butterflies in the UK which hibernates as an adult.  When the cold weather sets in the peacock seeks out hollow trees, attics and outbuildings to shelter in through the winter months.

The undersides of the Peacock's wings are dark coloured and have an irregular shaped outline, so at rest they're quite well camouflaged.  Despite this many are still found and eaten while they sleep.

To defend themselves against attacks they repeatedly open and close their wings to flash their eye spot markings.  At the same time they produce a hissing noise by rubbing veins on the forewings against veins on the hindwings.

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