April 2021 - Flipbook - Page 30
Peacock Butterflies can live for 11 months. They hibernate over winter and
emerge in early spring when they lay up to 500 eggs - usually on nettles. The
best time to see their caterpillars is May to July. When threatened the Peacock
makes a hissing sound by rubbing its legs together and the ‘eyes’ on its wings are
designed to make it look much larger. Buddleia is a particular favourite food.
The male Orange-tip butterfly is easily identified by the striking orange
patches and black edged tips to the upper side of its forewing. The female lacks
the orange and may be mistaken for one of the ‘white’ butterflies, but resting
with their wings closed, the butterflies have a distinctive green marble pattern.
Feeds on cuckooflower and garlic mustard. They can emerge from their crysalis
as early as March and can be spotted as late as September.
The Mullein moth flies mainly at night between May and July. The eggs are
laid chiefly on Verbascum and Buddleia plants and caterpillars emerge within 10
days to voraciously devour the host plant. They molt four times in thirty days
and spin their cocoon underground where they can pupate for up to five years.
Gatekeeper adults emerge in-early summer and can be seen until early August.
On dull days they tend to be fairly inactive resting on food plants with open
wings. On sunny days they are more mobile and busy polinating. Often seen on
brambles, the adult butterfly has a short proboscis and the shallow flowers of the
blackberry provide an excellent nectar source. The females typically have more
spots and lay around 100 eggs sometimes randomly ejecting them into the air.
The eggs hatch in 14 days and the caterpillars feed on grasses, hibernating from
September until early spring