The European Peacock (Aglais io), more commonly known simply as the Peacock butterfly, is a colourful butterfly, found in Europe and temperate Asia as far east as Japan. Formerly classified as the only member of the genus Inachis (the name is derived from Greek mythology, meaning Io, the daughter of Inachus). The Peacock can be found in woods, fields, meadows, pastures, parks, and gardens, and from lowlands up to 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) elevation. It is a relatively common butterfly seen in many European parks and gardens.
The butterfly hibernates over winter before laying its eggs in early spring, in batches of up to 400 at a time. The eggs are ribbed and olive-green in colour and laid on the upper parts, and, the undersides of leaves of nettle plants and hops. The caterpillars, which are shiny black with six rows of barbed spikes and a series of white dots on each segment, and which have a shiny black head, hatch after about a week. The chrysalis may be either grey, brown, or green in colour and may have a blackish tinge. The caterpillars grow up to 42 mm in length.
The recorded foodplants of the European Peacock are Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica), Hop (Humulus lupulus), and the Small Nettle (Urtica urens) If you want these butterflies in your garden a good idea is to allow a small clump of nettles to grow this will encourage the adults to lay eggs and give the catapillars a food plant to feed upon. They also seem to love Buddleja alternifolia adults are often found with other common UK butterflies on the flowers in summer feeding on the rich nectar.
I found a Peacock a few days ago it probably thought Spring had arrived!.....hope its managed to find somewhere warm to hide till this cold spell passes. In the meantime how about Butterflies on cushions they will not fly away and guaranteed to bring a spot of colour and warmth to any room.