Reddish Vale Country Park
The peacock is one of our most familiar and attractive butterflies. Peacocks hibernate through the winter and can be seen in the coldest winter months, although most individuals become active in late March and April. As well as being one of the first signs of spring, peacocks are interesting in many other ways. They are probably the longest lived butterflies in Britain, with adults surviving from late July well into the following spring, perhaps into June. Thus contrary to popular belief that butterflies only live for a few days, some peacocks may live to see their 11th month (albeit having spent five or six months of their adult lives asleep in hibernation).
The peacock butterfly has fared well in recent years. Not only has it increased in distribution, pushing northwards in northern England and central Scotland, but populations have also increased significantly in size at sites monitored. It is even emerging from hibernation earlier than it was 20 years ago. There is little shortage of food for the black, spiny peacock caterpillars which feed primarily on Common (stinging) Nettle
The peacocks name comes directly from that of its avian namesake, thanks to the similarity between the eye patterns on the bird's tails and those on the butterfly's wings, As long ago as the late 1600s, the butterfly was called the Peacock's Eye. Even the scientific name of the butterfly is derived from a Greek myth involving a peacock bird.
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