Inachis io | Peacock | Péacóg



Conservation status

Ireland: Least Concern (Regan et al., 2010)
Europe: Least Concern (van Swaay et al., 2010)
Climate risk category: Climate Change Risk; present distribution in Europe can be explained by climate to a moderate extent (Settele et al., 2008)

Legal status

The Peacock is not afforded legal protection in Ireland.

Native status


Species Biology


Key identification features include:

  • Large size, wingspan: 63-75 mm
  • Prominent blue eyespots on fore- and hindwings
  • Underwings very dark without bright markings


Generalist, found across tall herb and grassy forest clearings, fallow crops, field margins, urban parks and gardens. Adults roost in holes in trees in autumn, and also during hibernation, when they may use other types of enclosed areas such as buildings. After emerging in spring they roost on sunlit dry ground, in thick, broad-leaved vegetation such as ivy. In autumn adults bask and feed
on various flowers (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Flight period

Univoltine: overwintering adults can fly as early as mid-March or even earlier, but are most frequent in late April and early May, continuing to early June. Summer adults appear from late July and become most numerous in mid-August to early September, gradually diminishing through late September, and occasionally flying as late as early November.

Life stages

Life cycle

Eggs are laid on the underside of leaves of the foodplant, laid in clusters of 300-400 eggs, some piled untidily on top of each another.  The larvae hatch about the end of May and feed until pupation about the beginning of August. On hatching they spin together a few higher leaves of the foodplant and feed within these. As the leaves become fully consumed the larval group moves to an adjacent plant and forms a new web there. The webs fill up with faecal pellets and discarded skins. Later the larvae become solitary and feed exposed, still feeding both diurnally and nocturnally. Prior to pupation they leave the feeding site and wander several metres to pupate suspended from a silken pad about 1 metre above ground in vegetation. This species overwinters as a hibernating adult (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Food plants

The larva feeds exclusively on Common Nettle (Urtica dioica) (Bond & Gittings, 2008).

Flowers visited

Generalist, the adult’s nectar sources include: Thistles (Cirsium spp. and Carduus spp.), Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scriptus), Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis), Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.), Devil's-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis), Fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica), Hawkweeds (Hieracium/Hypochoeris), Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum), Honeydew / Sap, Marjoram (Origanum vulgare), Privet (Ligustrum vulgare), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum), Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) are also used.


World distribution(GBIF)

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2023

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.



Bond, K.G.M. and Gittings, T. 2008. Database of Irish Lepidoptera. 1 - Macrohabitats, microsites and traits of Noctuidae and butterflies. Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 35. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin, Ireland.

Regan, E.C., Nelson, B., Aldwell, B., Bertrand, C., Bond, K., Harding, J., Nash, D., Nixon, D. and Wilson, C.J. 2010. Ireland Red List No. 4 – Butterflies. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Ireland.

Settele, J., Kudrna, O., Harpke, A., Kühn, I., Van Swaay, C., Verovnik, R., Warren, M.S., Wiemers, M., Hanspach, J., Hickler, T. and Kühn, E. 2008. Climatic risk atlas of European butterflies. Sofia-Moscow: Pensoft.

Van Swaay, C., Cuttelod, A., Collins, S., Maes, D., López Munguira, M., Šašic, M., Settele, J., Verovnik, R., Verstrael, T., Warren, M., Wiemers, M. and Wynhof, I. 2010. European Red List of Butterflies. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.