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Peacock Butterfly

Aglais io

Peacock Butterfly , European Peacock Butterfly

An Aglais io, the European peacock butterfly on a leaf

Aglais (Inachis) io - European Peacock - Flickr - S. Rae (3)

by S. Rae. CC BY 2.0

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The Peacock Butterfly is a pretty insect recognised for its colourful red wings and large eyespots. Its range covers most of Europe, with some sightings occurring through Asia as far as Japan. Aglais io butterflies sometimes hibernate in sheds, garages, attics and trees. In some years they can be seen on the milder days in winter. Peacock Butterflies can thrive in lots of habitats. A few places they occur regularly include gardens, parks, woodland and farmlands. The butterflies drink nectar but are also attracted to tree sap and rotten fruit. The black and spikey caterpillars eat Common Stinging Nettle but will occasion feed on Hops. Aglais io caterpillars are most active from May to July.
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Butterflies are important pollinators!
Caterpillars may be found on herbaceous plants.


Adults: Large butterflies with red or orange-brown wings and colourful eyespots (wingspan: 6-7 cm). The underside of the wings have tones of brown and a bit of red. Larvae: Caterpillars are small and black, with white spots and black spines dotted along the top and sides of the body. Pupae: The cocoon is yellow-green and spiky. Eggs: Eggs are green and laid in large clusters, typically underneath the leaves of nettles.











Europe and some parts of Asia

Biological treatment

Peacock butterflies aren't garden pests. The caterpillars feed on Stinging Nettles, whereas the butterflies are attracted to nectar-rich, pollinator-friendly plants, such as Butterfly Bush.


Stinging Nettle

Urtica dioica


Humulus lupulus


Taraxacum officinale

A close up of some purple Buddleja flowers in a garden


Buddleja spp.

Lady's Smock

Cardamine pratensis


Stachys officinalis

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