North American Butterflies and Moths List

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Butterflies of North America

Butterflies of New York

European Peacock (Inachis io)
JPG -- species photo

European Peacock (Inachis io [Linnaeus])

Wing span: 2 - 2 inches (5.1-6.4 cm).

Identification: Unmistakable. Chocolate brown above with blue peacock eye-spot on each wing. Below mottled brown-black like a tortoiseshell.

Life history: Males perch to await females. After mating, females lay batches of eggs on leaves or stems of stinging nettle (Urtica). Larvae feed in late spring and early summer. Adults emerge in summer and overwinter until the following spring.

Flight: July-May.

Caterpillar hosts: Stinging nettle.

Adult food: Sap flows, rotting fruits, dung, and flower nectar including butterflybush, yellow composites, bramble, and thistles.

Habitat: Various woodlands and gardens.

Range: Temperate Eurasia. Rare stray or transport to North America.

Conservation: Not needed for rare vagrant.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5

Management needs: None needed.


Higgins, L.G. and N.D. Riley. 1970. A field guide to the butterflies of Britain 
     and Europe. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.369 pages.
Hinchliff, John. 1994. The distribution of the butterflies of Oregon. Oregon 
     State University Bookstore, Corvallis. 176 pages, map.

Thomas, J.A., 1992. Butterflies of the British Isles. Hamlyn Press, London. 
     160 pp.

Author: Paul A. Opler

State and Regional References:

Cech, R. 1993.  A Distributional Checklist of the Butterflies and Skippers of 
     the New York City Area (50-mile Radius) and Long Island.  New York City 
     Butterfly Club Special Publication.  27 pp.

Forbes, W.T.M.  1960.  Lepidoptera of New York and Neighboring States.  Part 
     IV: Agaristidae through Nymphalidae Including Butterflies.  Cornell Univ. 
     Agricultural Experimental Station, Ithaca, N.Y.  Memoir 371.  188 pp.

Glassberg,  J.  1993.  Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to 
     Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region.  Oxford Univ. Press, 
     New York, N.Y.  160 pp. 

Klass, C. and Dirig, R.  1992.  Learning about Butterflies.  Cornell Cooperative 
     Extension Publication, 4-H Member/Leader Guide 139-M-9.  Ithaca, N.Y.  
     36 pp.

Layberry, R.A., Hall, P.W. & Lafontaine, D.J., 1998.  The Butterflies of 
     Canada.  University of Toronto Press, Toronto, ON.  280 pp.
Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format.
     Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.      

Shapiro, A.M.  1974.  Butterflies and Skippers of New York State.  Cornell Univ.
     Agricultural Experimental Station, Ithaca, N.Y.  Search 4:1-60.   
European Peacock (Inachis io)
distribution map
map legend

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