A peacock butterfly on grass (c) Dawn Burkey

Peacock butterfly

Peacock butterflies are certainly one of the most eye-catching creatures in the UK. Flitting between nectar-rich flowers of gardens and parks all summer long, come winter they seem to disappear. In fact they just fold up their wings and blend into a hollow tree or wooden shed, emerging in spring to lay eggs on nettle plants. The four stunning eyespots on the wing, resembling the tail feather pattern of the peacock, are there to frighten away or divert predators. Male peacock butterflies will defend a territory in summer, harassing any females that happen to pass through.

How to identify common garden butterflies.

Scientific name: Inachis io

Rank: Species

Common names:

European peacock

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The Peacock butterfly can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, China, Europe, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales, Ynys-hir nature reserve. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Peacock butterfly distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

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