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Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

A very common butterfly in Dorset and seen in grassy habitats including gardens, hedgerows, woodland rides and glades, as well as chalk downlands and cliffs.



  • Peacock: winter shut eye

    Post date: Wednesday, 15 July, 2015 - 00:00

    The peacock (Inachis io) is very often the first butterfly seen in our gardens each spring as they hibernate and can awake on any warm day in early spring. It will often be the off-spring of these early insects that we see later in July and August and the peacock should be a common sight right through until October, perhaps even beyond.

    The food plant for the larvae of the peacock is the common, or stinging, nettle but the adults will nectar at any suitable flower including thistles and knapweeds. The peacock is a very common butterfly in Dorset and can be seen in grassy habitats everywhere including gardens, hedgerows, woodland rides and glades, as well as on our chalk downlands and cliffs.

    Those large eyes on the wings are unmistakable. 


  • Peacock in Dorset: what your tweets tell us ...

    Post date: Sunday, 5 May, 2019 - 19:25

    With its distinctive wing colouration and 'eye' markings, as well as being a regular visitor to gardens, the peacock must surely be one of our best known butterflies. It is a resident breeding species in Britain laying eggs on common nettle and its black, spikey caterpillars are a common site munching their way through nettle leaves totally immune to any stinging that we suffer if we touch them. It is not just a garden butterfly of course, it can be encountered almost anywhere there are nectar rich flowers to feed on and that includes woodlands, scrub, heath and grassland. This is a hibernating species and so it can potentially be seen at almost anytime of year with a break around June between broods.

    The weekly reports chart shows sightings from week 6 in February continuously through until week 18 in late May. Then follows the inter-brood wait with virtually no reports until week 24 in early July. Then follows continuous reports until week week 32 at the end of August. Reports then become a little more sporadic, but still frequent, until week 44 at the end of October. Odd reports can then be seen in the winter months when they emerge from their hibernation on warmer, sunny days in November, December and January.

    There are reports from many sites across the county showing just how diverse it is in its choice of habitat.


Common Name Peacock
Scientific Name Inachis io
Species Group Nymphalid Butterflies Admirals and Fritillaries
Interest Level
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Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Preferred Environment
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Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Nymphalid Butterflies Admirals and Fritillaries