Eye Spy – Butterfly Eye Spots

The Peacock Butterfly

The Peacock Butterfly (so called because of it’s markings, like those on a peacock’s feathers), uses it’s ‘Eye’ Spots to great affect for deterring predators such as birds and mice. When viewed head on, the rear ‘Eye’ spots create a head, with the body appearing as a large beak! The peacock butterfly is also capable of producing a hissing sound, audible to humans, which it makes by rubbing it’s wings together. This combined with the ‘Eye’ spots tends to deter most of it’s predators!

Bedraggled Peacock Butterfly Eye spots

Bedraggled Peacock Butterfly Eye spots

 

Peacock - Threatening Head with Eyes and Beak!

Peacock – Threatening Head with Eyes and Beak!

 

The Ringlet

However, the ringlet’s ‘Eye’ spots appear to not be a defensive mechanism, but maybe partly a camouflage tool, and partly used during the breeding season. One interesting fact about the ringlet, because of it’s dark colouring, it absorbs heat relatively easily, and is thus one of the few UK butterflies to be seen flying around on overcast days.

Ringlet Butterfly Eye Spots

Ringlet Butterfly Eye Spots

 

Ringlet Butterfly Eye-Spots

Ringlet Butterfly Eye-Spots

 

These photos are all part of the Weekly Photographic Challenge – Eye Spy.

 

 

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51 thoughts on “Eye Spy – Butterfly Eye Spots

  1. I’ve always thought of the peacock as one of our most beautiful butterflies, and never considered the eye spots as a defensive mechanism. I’ve never noticed a hiss, either. You’ve cetainly given me something to look out for next summer! This year was a strange year for all butterflies around our village. All we saw were a few cabbage whites and a couple of browns. I must look more closely at the rings on brown butterfles, too. Really interesting post, Andy. πŸ™‚

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    • I would have a field day out in your neck of the woods Lori, I think moths are far more fascinating than butterflies! But my wife wouldn’t like it, she’s terrified of our micro moths which are only about a quarter of an inch long! 😦
      It is fantastic how the different colourations of the wings help moths and butterflies do different things. And have you noticed, that large brightly coloured caterpillars, will often turn into fairly dull moths, and vice versa. There must be an ecological reason for this, but I don’t know what the reason actually is!

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      • I suppose many aspects of nature will always be for us to wonder about. I think sometimes simply observing for a time shows us the answers we seek. That is how I have discovered most everything I know about deer. I know there is still much to learn!

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  2. Great post Andy! I was going to go with butterfly eyes too but wasn’t particularly well again last week. Peacocks have always been one of my favourite butterflies and caterpillars. I used to rescue the caterpillars from local pathways before the wretched farmer came out to weed kill all the nettles! Ringlets are wonderful πŸ™‚ There are a few places around me where they’re quite common. Have you ever been attacked by a red admiral? Most territorial butterfly I’ve come across. They will actually dive bomb you! Pointless but fun πŸ˜‰ I was going to post a few of the tropical butterflies like the Owl and Morpho. Their eyes and false eyes are amazing!

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