Watch for the White Peacock Butterfly in the South

Updated: Feb. 18, 2022

Keep an eye out for the beautiful white peacock butterfly year-round in southeastern wetlands and fields. Also see what their caterpillar looks like.

White Peacock Butterfly Markings

White peacock butterflyCourtesy Deborah Billings
White peacock butterfly

If you see a white butterfly fluttering by, take a closer look at the white wings. If it’s a white peacock, it’ll have brown markings and subtle orange hues along the wings’ edges. From above, look for one dark spot on the forewings and two on the hindwings. Their wingspan measures 2 to 2 3/4 inches.

A white peacock’s appearance may seem more pale during winter. Learn how to tell the difference between a moth vs a butterfly.

Where to Find a White Peacock Butterfly

pollinator garden, White peacock butterfly on an African daisyCourtesy Elaine Hessler
White peacock butterfly on an African daisy

These spotted white butterflies can be seen in the Southeast. White peacocks do travel as far west as Texas and north as North Carolina, and may occasionally even be seen in northern states during warmer months. You may see these butterflies along rivers, ponds and swampy areas and in fields.

Check out 11 kinds of butterflies you should know.

What Do White Peacock Butterflies Eat?

White peacock butterflyCourtesy Marguerite Eichelberger
White peacock butterfly

Just like with other butterflies, planting a pollinator garden with nectar flowers is a good way to draw in white peacocks. You’ll want to grow bidens and frogfruit in particular to attract these butterflies.

“I spotted a white peacock (above) in the heat of summer at a local nature center in southwest Michigan. I love photographing butterflies from different perspectives, especially from beneath when I can see their faces. Each one is so uniquely beautiful and intricate,” says Marguerite Eichelberger of Berrien Springs, Michigan.

Meet garden royalty: The viceroy butterfly.

What Does a White Peacock Caterpillar Look Like?

White peacock caterpillarSara Bright
White peacock caterpillar

These caterpillars are dark with tiny white flecks throughout the body, in addition to intimidating spines to scare off potential predators. Take a caterpillar quiz to see how many caterpillars you can identify.

Look for a mourning cloak butterfly in early spring.

Host Plants and Eggs

Look for tiny, pale green eggs underneath leaves on water hyssop, frogfruit and wild petunia plants. Check out the top 10 butterfly host plants to attract pollinators.