Image 1 contributed by U.K
photographer Bill Edwards.
Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Images 2 & 3 contributed by U.K
photographer Michael Smith.
Also known as the European Peacock
Peacock flight is quick and gliding.
They are found primarily in parks, fields, gardens, meadows, pastures, and woods at elevations of up to 8,200 ft.
Males are highly territorial, chasing away all females after the breeding season.
When surprised, they will fly off with a noisy flapping of wings, producing an intimidating hissing sound by friction.
If the peacock butterfly senses danger, it will become completely still and act as though it is a leaf blending into the background.
If the butterfly feels threatened, it will rub its wings together, which makes a hissing sound.
This hissing sound is often enough to scare off predators.
When seen from above, as is likely with most predators, the eyespots and wing color resemble the face of an owl, which keeps the predators from attacking the butterfly.
The male peacock will find a territory to claim as its own. They will then sit high enough where they can view anything that passes through the area, and defend that area, including food areas, watering holes, and nesting sites, from other male peacock butterflies.
An interesting fact about peacock butterflies is that they mate with only one partner.
While this may sound romantic, it is because the female mates during its pupal stage.
Additionally, peacock butterflies spend several months of their life in hibernation, leaving little time to find another mate.
Peacocks lay their eggs in early spring, and can lay up to 500 eggs at one time, typically layered on the underside of nettle leaves.
Birds will often eat butterfly eggs, and laying them in layers insures that some of the eggs should survive.
The ridged eggs are olive green in color, helping them blend in to the surroundings.
Like other species the peacock butterfly will hibernate for several months during winter.
To prepare for hibernation, they will start to convert blood sugar into a substance similar to anti-freeze. Known as glycerol, this substance helps insects survive the winter..
Before winter sets in, the butterfly will then find a safe space protected from the harsh winter winds, such as inside a hole in a tree, where it can fold its wings and sleep until winter passes.
Because the peacock butterfly hibernates during the winter, it is often one of the first butterflies that you will see out and about in the spring.
If there are periods of warm weather as early as March, they will wake up and go out in search for their first meal of the new year.
Peacock butterflies live for about 11 months.
While this may not seem like a long time, it is impressive given that most adult butterflies live for only a few weeks or few months.
Many of these months are spent in hibernation during the winter, though.
The Peacock's spectacular pattern of eyespots was evolved to confuse predators, making it one of the most recognizable and well known species. It is from these wing markings that it gained its name.
Ventral sides of the wings are dark and have the appearance of dead leaves.
Wing Span: 63-69mm / 2.17 inches
(males) to 2.36 inches (females)
Adult diet: Nectar from dandelions, willows, clover, buddleia, danewort, hemp agrimony, and wild marjoram, rotten fruits and tree sap
* This butterfly gets its specific name Io from a priestess of goddess Hera in Argos, mentioned in the Greek mythology.