Unrelated Peacocks

2012_08_27 KB - European Peacock (Inachis io) 04
European Peacock (Inachis io)

Not all Peacocks have feathers, nor are they all related. There are also Peacock butterflies, but not of the same genus.

Take the European Peacock (Inachis io) above in all its splendour. A stunning looking butterfly with four big “eyes” which it is thought help dissuade predators. They are a common butterfly that range all across Europe and temperate Asia as far as Japan. Unlike many people, they love nettles. They lay their eggs on nettles and the caterpillars eat nettles. The adults feed on nectar from a wide range of flowering plants such as buddleia, dandelion and clover. I remember as a child a house up the road from us had a huge buddleia bush and there was never a time that you didn’t find any Peacock butterflies. Sadly, after the lady died and the house was sold, the new owners tore down the hedge, buddleia and all, and I didn’t see a peacock for years. Thankfully they seem to be making a comeback in recent years and I was delighted to see two in as many days during the summer.

Another beautiful butterfly called the White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae), as in the photos below, lives on the other side of the Atlantic. It is not related in any way to the European one though. When I was working in Rio de Janeiro some years ago I visited the botanic gardens there. Apart from some fantastic trees and plants and exotic birds, there were also some beautiful butterflies of which this was one. They are found in southeastern United States, Central America, and throughout much of South America. They have a reputation for being very territorial around their larval plants and will drive away any other insects and other male White Peacocks.

White Peacock Butterfly (Anartia jatrophae)
White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)

White Peacock Butterfly (Anartia jatrophae)
White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)

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