Common Buckeye Butterfly

From Ohio History Central

Common buckeye butterflies (Junonia coenia) prefer habitats of sunny, open areas with low vegetation and some bare ground. Their identification is rather easy. They have an adult wingspan of 1 5/8 – 2 3/4 inches. Their uppersides are brown. Forewings have two orange bars and two eyspots. The hindwings have two eyespots, the larger one on top has a magenta crescent shape. The underneath sides of the hindwings are brownish tan during the summer, turning to a rose-red in the fall.

During the day, males watch for females while sitting on low plants or bare ground. Females lay eggs on leaf buds or the leaf tops of caterpillar host plants such as snapdragons, toadflax and plantains. The solid black caterpillar is spends most of its time alone and eats leaves. Upon reaching adulthood, common buckeyes feed on the nectar of such plants as aster, chickory, tickseed and peppermint.

Both caterpillars and adults may overwinter but only in the southern United States, not Ohio.

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