Species of the Month - April 2013

Peacock Butterfly

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The Peacock emerges from hibernation in late March or early April.  These butterflies have become more numerous in our area in recent years and have not been put off by the hard winters of 2011 and 2012.  It remains to be seen how the prolonged cold spell in Mar-Apr 2013 will affect them.

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They look rather worn at this time of year, as they are about 8 months old as an adult butterfly, having flown around from flower to flower the previous Aug-Sep gorging themselves on nectar to see them through their hibernation.  On emergence the males will look for a female who, after mating, will look for a nettle patch to lay her eggs on.  The current generation will then die off and their eggs eventually produce late summer adults who will repeat the cycle.

In Spring, Peacocks are often seen basking on stones in the sunshine, as in the pictures below.  They also spend time nectaring on flowers.  All our records for Mar-Apr of feeding Peacocks are on Dandelion flowers, as in the top picture.  It will be interesting to see if the use of any other flowers is recorded during this survey.

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The eggs are laid in bunches at the tips of nettle plants, and the caterpillars stay together for a while, before moving off individually to find pupation sites.

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The butterflies that emerge in August are much sleeker looking than the spring ones, as in the picture below.

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Please send in your Peacock Butterfly sightings using the form below.  If you are not sure of the identity of your butterfly, please send a photo to sightings@lnhg.org.uk, or put one on the LORN forum and let me know it is there.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Flowers visited if any 
Any other details, e.g behaviour, habitat   


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
G Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

2 Apr: Two were seen on the LNHG recording field trip at Achnacloich, the first was spotted by Max Bonniwell and the second by Cynthia Grindley.

19 Apr: I found one basking on tarmac in the sun near Kilmore.

19 Apr: Marion saw several on the cycle track from Duror to Loch Creran.

20 Apr: Terry spotted one on our recording field trip at Craignish.


Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here is the list of species we've had so far:

Mar 2013 - Oak Beauty
Feb 2013 - Coral Lungwort

Jan 2013 - Willow Jelly Button & Birch Jelly Button
Dec 2012 - Dice Lichen
Nov 2012 - Feathered Thorn
Oct 2012 - Dryad's Saddle
Sep 2012 - Tawny Grisette
Aug 2012 - Forest Bug
Jul 2012 - Grayling
Jun 2012 - Greater and Lesser Butterfly Orchids
May 2012 - Small Copper
Apr 2012 - Green Tiger Beetle
Mar 2012 - March Moth
Feb 2012 - Barren Strawberry
Jan 2012 - Brambling
Dec 2011 - Red Squirrel
Nov 2011 - Hazel Gloves
Oct 2011 - Small Tortoiseshell
Sep 2011 - Fly Agaric
Aug 2011 - Grass of Parnassus
Jul 2011 - Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Jun 2011 - 7-spot Ladybird
May 2011 - Green Hairstreak
Apr 2011 - Townhall Clock

Mar 2011 - Frogspawn

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All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated