Inachis io

Photograph by Bill Slater


Four large "eyes" (ocelli) on the upperside of the wings make this species unmistakeable among butterflies found in this area.


Overwinters as an adult and may be seen on wing in March, or even earlier. Ova laid in cluster on undersides of young nettle leaves. Larvae build communal webs on nettle growing tips, moving to fresh plants as each is stripped bare. Larvae fully grown in June-July. Pupal stage lasts from 2 - 4 weeks. Adults emerge from mid-July, and commence hibernation in September - October.


March (or earlier) to May/June, then mid-July to September/October.


According to "Highland Butterflies, a provisional atlas", published in 1998 and based on records gathered in the period from 1970 to 1996, "the Peacock does not breed regularly in this part of the region but turns up quite often as a wanderer particularly in the south-west and the inner Moray Firth areas".

In September 2002 there occurred a sudden large influx of this species, and by 12th September the butterflies were scattered over an area of more than 1000 square miles, from just west of Banff to just west of Inverness. Thereafter it became an established breeding species, and has extended its range to the west coast and further north. John Randall, writing in Branch Newsletter 12 (Spring 2007) reported a record from Lewis.



Stewart, J., Barbour, D., Moran, S., 1998. Highland Butterflies, a provisional atlas. Highland Biological Recording Group and The Highland Council, Inverness.