Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io) - Wiki
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[Photo] Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io); Lepidoptera - Nymphalidae - Inachis io. Photo by Svdmolen (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Svdmolen). 28 July 2005, the Netherlands.
|Copyright (C) 2005 Sander van der Molen|
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The European Peacock
), more commonly known simply as the Peacock
, is a well-known colourful butterfly
, found in temperate Europe and Asia. It is the only member of the genus Inachis which is sometimes included in Nymphalis. It should not be confused or classified with the "American peacock
s" in the genus Anartia; these are not close relatives of the present species. The peacock butterfly
is resident in much of its range, often wintering in buildings or trees. It therefore often appears quite early in spring.
measures about 5 cm (2 in) from wingtip to wingtip and is easily identified by its striking eye pattern on a ruddy background, although with wings closed the cryptically coloured dark underwings make it look like a dead leaf. The eyespots are reminiscent of those on the feathers of a peacock
, hence the name. The eyespots are exposed when the butterfly
is disturbed by a potential predator (such as a bird) in a startling anti-predator display. The butterflies
flick their wings open and make a hissing noise. The open wings create an impression of the face of a mammal
such as a cat, and this deters the predator for long enough for the butterfly
to escape.(Stevens 2005)
Reproduction and food
hibernates over winter before laying its eggs in early spring, in batches of up to 500 at a time. The caterpillar
s, which are shiny black with six rows of barbed spikes and a series of white dots on each segment, hatch after about a week and feed on nettles and hops.
The adult butterflies
drink nectar from a wide variety of flowering plants, including buddleia, sallows, dandelions, wild marjoram, danewort, hemp agrimony, and clover; they also utilize tree sap and rotten fruit.
can be found in woods, fields, meadows, pastures, parks, and gardens, and from lowlands up to 8,200 feet elevation. It is a relatively common butterfly
seen in many European parks and gardens.
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