Peacock Butterfly, common name for a large butterfly found throughout Britain and ranging all over Western Europe and temperate Asia. The upper surfaces of the peacock butterfly's wings are chocolate brown, with prominent purple eyespots on the hindwings. Seen upside down, the pattern bears a remarkable resemblance to an owl's face. When threatened, the peacock butterfly flashes its wings open and makes a rustling sound by rubbing them together. The undersides of the wings are a mottled gray-brown, providing excellent camouflage when the insect rests on bark.
Female peacock butterflies mate and lay their eggs on stinging nettles in March, April, and May. The larvae (caterpillars) that emerge feed on the nettles, molting several times as they grow. They pupate (encase themselves in cocoons) among the nettle leaves, and adults begin to emerge in late July. Adults may live for up to 11 months, hibernating in crevices and hollow trees over winter.
Scientific classification: The peacock butterfly belongs to the family, Nymphalidae. It is classified as Inachis io.