A newly hatched, pristine peacock butterfly photographed yesterday by Clive Knight.

Peacocks (Aglais io) are one of the longest lived of Britain’s butterflies. This adult will have spent four weeks as one of a colony of caterpillars, probably among the stinging nettles at the edge of Simpsons Field, out-growing and changing its skin five times, and then two more weeks as a pupa carefully disguised as a curled leaf hanging from a nettle stem.

Newly emerged in the last few days, it will now feed among the reserve’s flowers for the rest of the summer, building up its energy stores for a long and dangerous hibernation in the cracks and crevices of the bark of a tree. Next spring, it will mate and, if it is a female, lay the next generation of eggs among the nettles in Simpsons Field.

Header Image: Peacock butterfly by Clive Knight (01.08.21 SCP-NR)

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