While walking around the garden today in the warm sunshine, I was totally taken aback with the incredible amount of insect life that has flocked to the profusion of garden flowers that are out at present. What really caught my eye was the beautiful Peacock Butterfly on one of the Verbena bonariensis. Her vibrant colours glistening in the sunshine and she did not even mind if I got up close to take a photo as she was too busy sucking the sweet nectar.

Aglais io’, the European peacock, more commonly known simply as the Peacock Butterfly, is a colourful butterfly found in Europe and temperate Asia as far east as Japan. Just like all other butterflies, the Peacock Butterfly can detect red, green and yellow colors.

They are one of the larger species of butterflies, Males are smaller than females. Their wingspan ranges from 2.4 inches in males to 2.7 inches in females.

Peacock butterflies can easily be recognized by their beautiful purple eye-spot on the end of their wings

Peacock 2

European Peacock ‘Aglais io’ Designed by Nature to frighten preditors

and when looked from upside down the pattern on the wings resembles the face of an owl. The colour on their wings also provides protection against predators by confusing or even scaring them away.

Females can lay up to 500 eggs after mating which usually happens in sunny areas covered in nettles, which is the primary food for the caterpillars. Peacock Butterflies can live for around 11 months and hibernate to survive low temperatures and lack of food during the winter period. Crevices, hollow trees and attics are usually the places occupied by these beautiful  during their hibernation.

Some of the butterflies seen regularly in the Fota Frameyard are

Red Admiral Butterfly

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta 

Speckled Wood Butterfly (Pararge aegeria)

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria


Painted Lady Vanessa cardui