Almost full grown caterpillar of Peacock butterfly feeding on nettles in the park, July 6th, '16.

Almost full grown caterpillar of Peacock butterfly feeding on nettles in the park, July 6th, '16.

Rosa Wellspring spotted these caterpillars first. The wet weather throughout June produced the lush growth of the stinging nettles in the flower bed running along the lower fence around the dog free area. This fresh, juicy foliage is exactly what these caterpillars like.
Peacock butterfly numbers fluctuate considerably from year to year, most often being abundant after cool, wet summers. This is probably because these conditions encourage lush growth of the larval food plant, the Common Nettle. So perhaps we can anticipate or even predict that later this summer there will be above average numbers of Peacocks flying.

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