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

They can be found in temperate Asia and England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales (all in northern Europe). Peacock butterflies are found in fields, woodlands, and on the outskirts of forests. Peacock butterfly populations are stable, and they are not classified as endangered species.

Peacock Butterfly Facts

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

facts about peacock butterflies

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 temperate regions of 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 that lives in North America but belongs to a different family.

2. Physical description

One of the amazing facts about peacock butterflies is their color combination. The peacock butterfly, also known as the European peacock, is one of the larger butterflies, with a wingspan of slightly more than two inches for males and somewhat less for females. 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.

facts about peacock butterflies

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.

facts about peacock butterflies

They lose their skin many times and reach a maximum size of 1.6 inches by the fifth stage. 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, like all other butterflies, can detect red, green, and yellow colors.

10. Survival

Against common predators such as birds and rodents, the peacock butterfly has two lines of defense. The first is crypsis, which is 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.

Since peacock butterflies live in temperate climates, the winters are bitterly cold, and there is a scarcity of food. 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. The hissing noises, on the other hand, are normally enough to scare rodents away.

11. A strong flyer

One of the interesting facts about peacock butterflies is their flying ability. They are a powerful flyer capable of covering great distances. It has a nomadic instinct, and, rather than finding a permanent home, it is always on the move.

12. 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’ lifestyle. Their unique color and hibernation process as well as the nomadic instinct are some unique features of peacock butterflies.

(Last Updated On: April 20, 2021)