Frisky butterflies in the Spring sunshine!

The fine weather earlier this week – at the end of March 2021 – saw the emergence of some butterflies, Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells, from their winter hibernation. Although they are hunkered down somewhere over the cold months, you would probably never find them (unless they are inside the trunk of an old tree), as…

Butterfly eyespots III. Deflect and sacrifice.

I described in my first blog on butterfly eyespots (Conspicuousness or eye-mimicry?) how they can be effective at deterring predators from attacking them, although the jury is still out as to whether this happens because the eyespots are highly conspicuous, startling signals, or whether it is because they genuinely fool predators into thinking that they…

Iridescence in insects

Iridescence is when surfaces – such as the wings of butterflies – appear to change brightness and colour as the angle of view, or the angle of illumination, changes. The iridescent wings of Morpho butterflies are some of the best examples. The spectral reflectance changes with the angle of incidence – i.e. the viewing angle…

Silver-washed fritillary courtship behaviour

The courtship behaviour of the silver-washed fritillary, Argynnis paphia (Heliconiinae, Argynnini), is described in most books or websites about butterflies. Here’s how I described it in my book on Courtship and mating in butterflies. The male …. performs a unique pursuit flight, swooping down beneath the female, then darting up in front of her, until…

Just a bunch of weeds? Birds and bees on the slopes of the Futurist site, Scarborough

This site was created following the demolition of the old Futurist theatre on Scarborough seafront.  Demolition of the building began in June 2018 and was completed in August 2018. A process called ‘slope stabilisation’ created an area of sloping ground (below) which, in this year of lockdown, has filled up with wild flowers. Some might…