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There is some sexual dimorphism in this species. Males are less colourful, with smaller eyespots and much reduced orange areas on the upper forewings. They are also much more active and range far about, while females fly less and often may not away from the area where they grew up.
The evolutionary significance of the upperwing eyespots is probably attack deflection. Small, peripherally located eyespots act as attractors to deflect the attacks of predators to non-vital parts of the body.
- Stevens, Martin 2005. The role of eyespots as anti-predator mechanisms, principally demonstrated in the Lepidoptera. Biological Reviews 80(4): 573–588