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3 x Peacock Butterfly Aglais Io Larvae


Caterpillar 2 to 4cm


The Peacock butterfly Aglais io is a fabulous butterfly to rear. Watch those cute spikey caterpillars grow and turn into one of the UK’s most gorgeous butterfly species. These butterflies are varied in habitat and so could be released once grown.

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Caterpillar 2 to 4cm

The peacock butterfly – Aglais io, is one of the most recognisable and loved butterflies in the UK. It is however also found throughout Europe and temperate Asia. This butterfly is loved for its vibrant wing patterns and colours, which resemble the eye spots on a peacock’s feathers, hence its name.

The peacock butterfly’s wingspan ranges from 60 to 75 millimetres. Its upper wings are a striking mix of red, blue, yellow, and black, adorned with large eye spots that serve as a defence mechanism against predators. When threatened, the butterfly can display these eye spots, which can startle or confuse potential predators. The undersides of the wings are much darker, providing excellent camouflage when the butterfly is at rest with its wings closed.

The Peacock butterfly, like other butterflies and moths undergoes complete metamorphosis, with its life cycle comprising four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult. Females lay clusters of eggs on the underside of leaves of host plants, primarily nettles. The caterpillars which hatch are black with spiny, white-dotted bodies. Whilst small they form communal webs as they feed on the host plant leaves.

After several weeks of feeding, the caterpillars pupate, attaching themselves to a suitable surface where they will transform into adult butterflies. The pupal stage lasts for about three weeks, after which the adults emerge. The adults are most commonly seen from early spring to late autumn.

Peacock butterflies are highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of habitats, including gardens, woodlands, meadows, and hedgerows. They are particularly drawn to areas abundant in nectar-rich flowers, such as buddleia, thistles, and dandelions. Their larval food plant, namely nettles are common throughout the UK and have ultimate helped this beautiful butterfly survive in the urban environment. In the winter, peacock butterflies hibernate in sheltered locations like tree hollows, sheds, or even houses.

These butterflies play a significant role in pollination, making them important contributors to the ecosystem. Additionally, their striking appearance and behaviour make them a favourite among butterfly enthusiasts and nature observers.



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