Peacock butterfly caterpillars

Encountered these splendid chaps down by the river the other day…

…and while they may give some folk the creeps in their caterpillar form, these fine specimens will go on to become one of the UK’s best-known and most colourful butterflies.

They are the caterpillars of the peacock butterfly – a fascinating nymphalid which uses the intricate ‘eye patterns’ on its wings to ward off predators.

These creatures enjoy feasting on nettles (like all true bushcrafters) before heading into the insect’s peak chrysalis phase in mid July.

They will then emerge a few weeks later as butterflies, ready to find a mate and begin the life cycle again.

Unlike many other species of butterfly, the peacock has a reasonable lifespan of around 11 months, and it is capable of hibernating in winter.

Let us know if you encounter any.

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