Peacock (Inachis io) – This butterfly was so taken by the sweet nectar of the Bluebell flowers it hardly notcied me at all as I was virtually on top of it with my macro lens. Double-click to enlarge image.
This very strikingly colourful butterfly is a very common visitor to our gardens in the summer months. Its distinctive eye-like markings are to ward off predators and are similar to the feather markings of the peacock bird, hence its name. A flash of these startling wings distracts potential attackers, giving the butterfly that crucial edge to make its escape. Note, how at a glance, the eyespots resemble a staring cat. The wings undersides are sooty brown with a little patternation, which make this ideal for camouflage. Wingspan 70mm (2 3/4in).
The caterpillars feed on Stinging Nettles, and live together in silken webs until their final moult.
It flies June to October, and again in the spring after hibernation. The adults may live up to over a year. It hibernates in the hollows of trees or inside outbuildings.
Observed almost anywhere there are nectar-rich flowers, including parks and gardens, wasteland, flowery meadows, and woodland rides. Abundant and widespread across Great Britain, apart from the northern half of Scotland.
No tricks of Photoshop here. A just by chance combination of depth of field and the angle the butterfly is positioned, and perhaps its dark colouration, gives a three-dimensional impression to this image. I think it does, anyhow. Can anybody else see this, or it just me?
This is one of my very favourite butterflies. It is called the Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io), for obvious reasons. It is a very common garden visitor, especially when my Buddleia’s are flowering, but it is not a fussy eater and it will be attracted to most nectar-rich flowers. This one happened to be an early riser, coming out of hibernation in early spring and finding my Large-leaved Saxifrage to feed on.
Photographs taken March 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire.