The peacock butterfly is commonly known as the European peacock and differs from the Amerian peacocks. They got the name “peacock” as they have a large eyespot in their wings that resembles the peacock’s feather.

Some amazing facts about peacock butterflies include their unique defensive mechanisms and survival instinct. They are beautiful and colorful species with eye-pleasing charm.

Peacock Butterfly

The peacock butterfly is one of the most attractive butterfly species. Aglais io is the European peacock’s scientific name, commonly known as the peacock butterfly, found in Eurasia(Europe and Asia). 

The Peacock butterfly is the only member of the genus Inachis and is classified under the family “Nymphalidae,” phylum “Euarthropoda,” class “Insecta,” and order “Lepidoptera.”

Peacock butterflies are found in fields, woodlands, and on the outskirts of forests. They can be found in temperate regions like Asia and England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales (all in northern Europe).

Peacock Butterfly Facts

Let’s have a quick look at peacock butterflies’ characteristics, behavior, and lifestyle where they prefer to live, their habitat, and their survival. Have a look at these interesting facts about peacock butterflies:

facts about peacock butterflies
source:: rocksea.org

1. Global distribution 

The peacock butterfly is found in temperate Europe and Asia, with a range that stretches from the United Kingdom and Ireland eastward across Russia to eastern Siberia, the Korean peninsula, and Japan. 

Northern Scandinavia and southern Spain, and Portugal are devoid of it. These facts about peacock butterflies show the distribution zone of these species.

It has also been found in Turkey and northern Iran, at elevations of up to 2,500 meters. It’s also known as the European peacock to differentiate it from another butterfly in North America.

2. Physical description 

One of the amazing facts about peacock butterflies is their color combination. The peacock butterfly, also known as the European peacock. 

They are larger butterflies, with a wingspan of slightly more than two inches for males and somewhat less for females. 

facts about peacock butterflies
source:: warwickshire-butterflies.org.uk

Their red wings have a distinctive black, blue, and yellow eyespot on the tips, which helps to identify them. The underside of their wings is dark brown and black, despite the clear and beautiful tops.

3. Habitat

They prefer forests, fields, pastures, meadows, and gardens, but they can also be found in lowlands and mountains up to 8,200 feet in elevation.

4. Lifespan

The lifetime of a peacock butterfly is very long. It has an 11-month lifespan.

5. Diet 

Adults feed on nectar from summer-flowering plants, including thistles and ragwort and sap and honeydew, from mid-July to mid-Winter. 

They can eat rotten fruit before early autumn to build up body fat in preparation for hibernation. Caterpillars consume the leaves of the plant on which they were laid, which may be nettle, small nettle, or hop.

6. Behavior 

Peacock butterflies emerge from their cocoons in late summer and hibernate in the winter. They hide in hollow trees, deadwood, sheds, and attics for seven to eight months until the next spring. 

These butterflies have many defensive mechanisms when predators attack them. The first is to blend in with the surroundings by staying motionless and imitating a leaf.

7. Reproduction 

Mating season starts in May, shortly after they emerge from hibernation and before they die later that month. Females lay olive green eggs in large batches of up to 500 on the underside of host plant leaves after mating. 

Stinging and common nettles, as well as hops, are among them. After 1 to 2 weeks, the larvae hatch. They have a gleaming black color with white spots and black spikes running down their backs.

8. Offspring 

On top of the leaf where they live and feed, the larvae cooperate to spin a communal web. They travel to another part of the plant and spin a new web once the food supply is exhausted. 

The larvae begin to feed separately as they grow and progress through five stages of development known as instars. They lose their skin many times and reach a maximum size of 1.6 inches by the fifth stage.

facts about peacock butterflies
source:: butterfly-conservation.org

They pupate on their own and emerge as adults in July when they begin to store fat in preparation for the upcoming winter. These facts about peacock butterflies briefly explain the development process.

9. Can detect color 

Peacock butterflies can detect red, green, and yellow colors like all other butterflies.

10. Defense Mechanism

Against common predators such as birds and rodents, the peacock butterfly has two lines of defense. The first is crypsis, a technique used by butterflies to blend in with their surroundings, typically taking the form of a dead leaf. 

If this doesn’t work and the peacock butterfly is threatened, it will flash its wings to reveal its eyespots and hiss to scare predators away. This defensive mechanism is one of the unique facts about peacock butterflies.

11. Survival 

Since peacock butterflies live in temperate climates, the winters are bitterly cold, and food is scarce. These butterflies will hibernate in crevices, hollow trees, or attics to survive from September to February.

Adults will gather as much nectar as possible in preparation for hibernation, but predators will remain a threat. 

Rodents are a significant threat, and the eyespots are ineffective due to the darkness of the temporary hiding spots. On the other hand, the hissing noises are normally enough to scare rodents away.

12. A strong flyer 

One of the interesting facts about peacock butterflies is their flying ability. They are powerful flyers capable of covering great distances. The nomadic instinct makes them roam around or keep changing home rather than staying in a permanent one.

13. Status of Conservation

The International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) has classified peacock butterflies as Least Concern. It was decided that their population was stable.

All the mentioned facts about peacock butterflies contain greater insight into peacock butterflies’ lifestyles. Their unique color, hibernation process, and nomadic instinct are distinctive features of peacock butterflies.

(Last Updated On: December 7, 2021)