European Peacock Butterfly

Aglais io

European Peacock Butterfly , Peacock Butterfly

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An Aglais io, the European peacock butterfly on a leaf
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The peacock butterfly is a pretty insect in the Lepidoptera order comprising moths and butterflies. It ranges across Europe through to eastern Asia and can be found as far as Japan. It tends to appear in early spring after overwintering in shelters like trees or buildings. This species is a useful organism for scientific study – it has been used to investigate the role of visual colour patterning, specifically eyespots, in anti-predator mechanisms. Peacock butterflies have a total lifespan of 11 months!
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Butterflies can be beneficial pollinators in the garden.


Peacock butterfly eggs are green and laid in large clusters, typically underneath the leaves of nettles. Larvae (caterpillars) are small and black, with white spots and black spines dotted along the top and sides of the body. The pupa (cocoon) is yellow-green in colour and is spiky in appearance. It hangs below leaves as the caterpillar inside develops into an adult butterfly. The adult is large with a wingspan range of 6-7 cm. The front of the wings is a Red-Orange, with two large eyespots. The underside of the wings is black.


Caterpillars can damage nettle and hop plants if in high abundance.











Europe and parts of Asia.

Attracts this pest

The fully developed adult butterfly enjoys the nectar of several flowers.
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