|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|peacock butterfly (Inachis io)|
Life cycle and behaviour
Adults emerge from hibernation from March onwards with numbers peaking in late April. They quickly mate and females lay eggs. The resulting offspring emerge as butterflies from late July onwards (later in the north). A small second brood is possible in the south in very favourable years. This was seen in a few places in the hot summer of 2003, when Peacock caterpillars found during September hatched out in early October.
This is supported by experiments that have demonstrated the role of daylength in determining the development of caterpillars into adults that either will breed immediately or will hibernate. In the laboratory, caterpillars from southern England have been induced to develop into reproductive adults when exposed to long periods of artificial daylight (equivalent to the longest days of summer). Therefore, a partial second generation may occur when favourable weather allows the rapid development of the first brood during the long days of mid-summer.
Males feed and disperse in the mornings, then establish territories on the ground in the early afternoon. These territories are invariably in sunny spots in the corners of woodland or hedges and are vigorously defended against other males. When a female is encountered, the male will abandon his territory and give chase.
Eggs are laid in large, irregular clusters on the undersides of young nettle leaves. In contrast to the laying sites of the Small Tortoiseshell, large vigorous plants in the middle of nettle beds are often selected, although these must be in full sunlight at midday, when egg laying usually occurs.
The caterpillars build communal webs over the growing tips of the nettles on which they feed, migrating to fresh plants as each is stripped bare. The feeding damage, swathes of web, and the black, spiny caterpillars are very conspicuous in June. Eventually the caterpillars disperse to pupate suspended from vegetation.
The emerging adults congregate in large numbers at good nectar sources, feeding voraciously to accumulate fat reserves for hibernation. The butterflies also spend time prospecting for suitable hibernation sites, often in hollow trees, crevices in bark or stone, and in unheated buildings. Once a site has been found, the individual will remain in the vicinity, roosting in the site and feeding nearby during the day, until it enters hibernation. Most appear to begin hibernation in early September, although individuals may be seen in October.
The Peacock does not live in discrete colonies and individuals range widely across the countryside in search of suitable habitats. In marking experiments in Germany, Peacocks have been recovered over 90km away from the place where they were first caught and marked.
Observations have revealed a tendency to fly to the north-west in the early part of the season and to the south-east later in the year, and some migration to and from continental Europe is likely. Nevertheless, fewer individuals are probably involved in these movements than is the case for the Small Tortoiseshell or the true migrants, the Red Admiral and Painted Lady.
juanit, earthtraveler, nglen, PaulH has marked this note useful
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Very very nice ... so beautiful...
very splendid photography
- [2007-07-25 11:18]
A wonderful capture,excellent detail and sharpness,nice colours,
This image is nicely composed, focused, rich saturated colors,and has a pleasnt BG.
- [2007-07-25 12:12]
What a beauty, lovely capture, beautiful texture and BG
Very sharp image and well composed, great POV.
- [2007-07-25 14:49]
Hi matthew. a very good close up of the butterflt. nice colours and good detail.it has some very nice markings which you have captured well. a nice POV/ DOF. very well done TFS good notes too
- [2007-08-01 1:04]
what a great shot, full of detail and lots of colour too. I like your POV and composition alot. great work. Back with Smiley tomorrow..:o)