White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae) life history
White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae) Life History

Recently deposited eggs, 10-15-11

Eggs about to eclose, 10-18-11

Recently emerged caterpillars, 10-19-11



This caterpillar has white dots, 10-27-11

A different caterpillar than above has more red, 10-28-11


Fully-grown caterpillar, 11-4-11

About to pupate, 11-5-11

Dark-form chrysalis, 11-6-11

Green-form chrysalis, 11-6-11

Adult about to emerge from green
chrysalis, 8:06 a.m. on 11-13-11

Butterfly has emerged; wings are still wet, 9:30 a.m. on 11-13-11

Fresh adult White Peacock ready to fly, 12:23 p.m. on 11-13-11

White Peacocks are almost always flying beside the Rio Grande River in Salineņo, TX. One day I noticed a female ovipositing on a low-growing plant that proved to be Coastal Water Hyssop, Bacopa monnieri. She appeared to be depositing single eggs as she moved around. I captured her and put her in a jar with some of the Hyssop. An hour or so passed while I tried to locate the eggs which she had just left, and while I looked around some more. It was my thought to keep the female for a day or two if my search failed. However, I found two eggs, so I decided to release the female. To my pleasant surprise, when I arrived at the house I discovered that she had left me 7 additional eggs, all placed together on the stem of the host plant.

The caterpillars emerged 3 days after the eggs were deposited. The caterpillars were dark, almost black, with few markings. They changed little as they grew.

Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) and Runyon's Violet Wild Petunia (Ruellia nudiflora) are reported hosts for White Peacocks. Both plants grow in my butterfly garden, but I had never seen any signs of use. I was curious to know if the caterpillars would eat these plants, so I offered them while not replenishing the Hyssop. The caterpillars readily accepted the Petunia, but only nibbled at the Frogfruit. Perhaps my plants were a bit tough or bitter from lack of adequate water.

One curiosity I found was that this species has a very dark form of the chrysalis. 6 caterpillars were raised; four formed a chrysalis that was green with black spots. The other two formed a chrysalis that was black with white spots. The dark chrysalis remained blackish even after the adult emerged.

The first caterpillar pupated on 11-4; the last on 11-6. The adults emerged from 11-11 and 11-14. Thus, it took 27-30 days from the time the eggs were deposited to the time when the adults flew.

White Peacock Page