Peacock (Aglais io)
The Peacock (A. io) has to be one of my favourite butterflies, not least because the adults can be seen at almost any time of year, with warm weather waking them from hibernation. Generally single-brooded, in good years a small second brood may sometimes appear. The majority emerge from hibernation at the end of March and beginning of April. These mate and ultimately give rise to the next generation that emerges at the end of July.
Males set up territories around midday, often on the sunny side of a wood, where they wait for a passing female. Males will immediately fly up at any dark object, which is one way of sexing this species since the two sexes are very difficult to tell apart, being almost identical in appearance. It is not uncommon to see two or more males rising rapidly into the air as they fight for aerial supremacy. When a female is found she flies off, trying to escape the male that is in pursuit. If he succeeds in staying with her then the pair may mate.
The above images depict three males from today …