Birds & butterflies

Peacock Butterfly – Paon du jour

I know little or nothing about butterflies but I hope my knowledge will improve with time. In any case, I think this one is beautiful. It’s scientific name is Aglais io and it’s commonly called a peacock or Irish butterfly.
Je ne suis pas experte en papillon – loin de là – mais j’espère améliorer mes connaissances avec le temps. En tous les cas, je trouve celui-ci très beau. Son nom scientifique est Aglais io, connu sous le nom commun de paon du jour.

6 replies on “Peacock Butterfly – Paon du jour”

Thank you Stuart. I’ve now tracked down its French name – paon du jour – which is very pretty, isn’t it? It seems it’s also called the peacock butterful. I’m now going to rename the post!

You’ve misunderstood the website Stuart links to. The Peacock is an Irish butterfly in the sense that it is a species that occurs in Ireland and therefore features on this website about Irish butterflies and moths. It is not called the Irish Butterfly.
Anyway, with asters in the garden you should be assured of regular visits by this colourful butterfly, so enjoy!

Hi Rosemary – strange subject I know, but butterflies are something I know a lot about – if you ever have any more photos (probably next year now!) I can identify them and tell you a little about them.
This is a Peacock butterfly (Latin name: Vanessa Io). Many of the later Peacock’s seen at this time of year have a remarkably long life as they will feed up on the last flowers of the asters and buddleia etc and then go into hibernation for the winter – which is why people often find them in their houses at this time of year as they are looking for somewhere dark and dry to sleep. In contrast to their beautiful velvety upper side wings with the distinctive ‘peacock eyes’, they have a deep charcoal coloured underside to their wings which keeps them hidden when their wings are closed, and Peacock’s can survive extreme winter cold hidden in an old tree/shed/woodstack or thick ivy etc outside. Next Spring these same surviving Peacocks will re-appear about April and females will lay their eggs on nettles and the black, spiny caterpillars will grow through the summer – sometimes you will see a group of them all on one nettle around June/July time and the next generation of butterfly’s will emerge in August & September. So, the Peacock in your photo could live for anything up to 9 months – which surprises many people who believe butterflies only live for a few days. Three or four weeks is about average for those butterflies that do not hibernate like the Peacock.

Hi Julian, thank you for stopping by. I don’t think butterflies are a strange subject at all! I would love to know more about them. Thank you for your input. I read that there are several Latin names. I’m delighted to hear that my Peacock may still be around next year! I, too, believed that butterflies only live for very short periods. I am going to keep a look-out for this one next year. We have lots of hibernation spots in our little wood.

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