Appearance▲ Back to topThe butterfly has a wingspan of 50 to 55 mm. The base-colour of the wings is a rusty red, and at each wingtip it bears a distinctive, black, blue and yellow eye-spot. The underside is a cryptically coloured dark-brown or black.
There are two subspecies, ''I. io caucasica'' found in Azerbaijan and 'I. io geisha'' found in Japan and the Russian Far East.
Naming▲ Back to topIo is a figure in Greek mythology. She was a priestess of Hera in Argos.
Evolution▲ Back to topThe Peacock can be found in woods, fields, meadows, pastures, parks, and gardens, and from lowlands up to 2,500 metres elevation. It is a relatively common butterfly seen in many European parks and gardens. The Peacock male exhibits territorial behaviour, in many cases territories being selected en route of the females to oviposition sites.
The butterfly hibernates over winter before laying its eggs in early spring, in batches of up to 400 at a time. The eggs are ribbed and olive-green in colour and laid on the upper parts, and, the undersides of leaves of nettle plants and hops. The caterpillars, which are shiny black with six rows of barbed spikes and a series of white dots on each segment, and which have a shiny black head, hatch after about a week. The chrysalis may be either grey, brown, or green in colour and may have a blackish tinge. The caterpillars grow up to 42 mm in length.
The recorded foodplants of the European Peacock are Stinging Nettle , Hop , and the Small Nettle .
The adult butterflies drink nectar from a wide variety of flowering plants, including buddleia, willows, dandelions, wild marjoram, danewort, hemp agrimony, and clover; they also utilize tree sap and rotten fruit.
The butterfly has cryptic undersides with flashy eye-spots above and can also make an audible sound by rubbing its wings together, presumably as anti-predator measures.
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