Peacock Butterflies

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Peacock Butterflies

Scientific name:  Inachis io

Size:  Wingspan approximately 60mm

Distribution:  Found throughout the UK.  Less common in Scotland

Months seen:  All year round, but mostly seen March to October

Life span:  Up to eight months

Habitat:  Meadows, roadside verges, woodland edges and gardens

Food:  Nectar.  The caterpillars eat nettles

Special features:  Peacock butterflies can be easily recognised by the four large, colourful eye spot markings on the wings, which look similar to those on a peacock (peafowl) tail feathers.

In contrast the underside of the wings are almost black, allowing the Peacock butterfly to remain well camouflaged in garden sheds and outbuildings during its winter hibernation.

The Peacock caterpillars are a velvety black colour and covered in tiny white dots.  The whole body is covered with black spines.  When first hatched they live in a silk web but once fully grown they disperse to find a pupation site.

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