Can butterflies hiss?
Did you know peacock butterfly can ward off attackers by 'hissing'?
One butterfly at least can hiss. The butterfly peacock overwintersas an adult, increasing its chances of encounters with predators. It relies on camouflage to survive, the drab, darkened undersides of its scalloped wings likening it to a dead leaf.
If the masquerade fails, the peacock will revert to intimidation tactics, opening its wings in an explosion of hues. Included in the display are four large eyespots, which give the impression of a large bird and have been shown to deter insect-eaters such as blue tits.
But the peacock doesn’t stop there. Angling itself towards its attacker, it flicks its wings, producing a series of rasps and clicks as the veins rub together. This ‘hiss defence’ is so effective that it makes even mice retreat. Such a diverse array of anti-predation techniques gives the peacock a decent chance of surviving the winter.
- Can butterflies hear? And why do moths have ears and butterflies not?
- How do butterflies smell? And what about moths?
- How can butterflies fly so well?
- Marsh fritillary: how a life-support bubble helps this rare butterfly survive winter
- Why do male butterflies chase other butterfly species?
- How does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly?
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