Site address
(not postal)

Woodcroft Wildspace
Downes Court


N21 3PT

Peacock butterfly (Inachis io)

Peacock Butterflies have large, colourful eyespots on their wings, which resemble those on the tail of the peacock. The upper wings are mostly red with black markings, and a yellow and purple eye spot at the tip. The lower wings are red with a dark blue eye spot surrounded by a white ring. They have dark, reddish-brown bodies which are usually covered in shiny hairs.Length is 63mm with a wingspan of approx. 60mm. The larvae are black, spotted with white and have shiny black spines along their back and sides.

Peacock Butterflies can be seen gardens, in orchards any open spaces where there are a lot of flowers. Adults hibernate throughout the winter in crevices of rocks and stone walls, in hollow trees, and sometimes in houses.

The adults feed on nectar from thistles, buddleia and flowers. In the late summer they will also feed from fallen fruit once it has become soft and over ripe.

Caterpillars feed on mostly nettles, sometimes on hops. They feed in groups but eventually disperse and pupate away from the foodplants.

Peacock Butterflies lay eggs only once a year, in the spring after emerging from hibernation.

Adults can survive from late July into the following spring, perhaps into June, although they spend 5-6 months of their lives in hibernation.

back to wildlife index