Peacock butterfly in the Irish woodlands
One sight I love to see in the summertime is the Peacock butterfly as I walk through the local county kilkenny woodlands, They add so much life and colour to the green of the hedgerows and paths.
Unlike some wildlife they are not hard to find or take pictures of, you do need to move very slowly in order not to disturbed them and you need a camera with a macro lens.
The butterfly conservation website has the following details.
Scientific name: Aglais io
Red wings with black markings and distinctive eyespots on tips of fore and hind wings.
The Peacock’s spectacular pattern of eyespots, evolved to startle or confuse predators, make it one of the most easily recognized and best known species. It is from these wing markings that the butterfly gained its common name. Undersides of the wings are very dark and look like dead leaves. A fairly large butterfly and a strong flyer.
Although a familiar visitor to garden buddleias in late summer, the Peacock’s strong flight and nomadic instincts lead it to range widely through the countryside, often finding its preferred habitats in the shelter of woodland clearings, rides, and edges.
The species is widespread and has continued to expand its range in northern parts of Britain and Ireland.
Size and Family
Family – Nymphalids
Wing Span Range (male to female) – 63-69mm
UK BAP status: Not listed
Butterfly Conservation priority: Low
European status: Not threatened
Common Nettle (Urtica dioica), although eggs and larvae are occasionally reported on Small Nettle (U. urens) and Hop (Humulus lupulus)
Countries – England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Throughout Britain and Ireland
Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = +17%
Common and found in a range of habitats.