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White Peacock

The White Peacock is one of Florida’s most common butterflies. It is also one of our easiest to identify because of its white wings that are marked with an orange and brown wave-like pattern and a row of black spots, each circled by yellow. Those yellow-circled black spots are referred to as “eyespots” – markings that attract the attention of predators. A predator may see the eyespots as real eyes and a vulnerability for the butterfly, but for the butterfly it is better to lose a piece of wing, than to get eaten. White Peacocks can be seen year round in Florida and adults feed on nectar at a great diversity of native and introduced flowers. Their caterpillars are more specific in their diet, feeding on leaves of Water Hyssop, frog fruit, and wild petunias – all of which grow near water – thus that’s where these butterflies are most common. The caterpillars of White Peacocks begin life as tiny black creatures with scattered black spines. These may deter some predators, but are harmless to humans. As they grow, White Peacock caterpillars develop orange spots among the black spines. Adult Males and females are similar in appearance, but males are significantly smaller.