Buckeye Beauty by Donna Adamski

Junonia coenia is the Common Buckeye butterfly. It is found in all parts of the United States except the northwest, and is especially common in the South, the California coast, and throughout Central America and Colombia. Its habitat is open areas with low vegetation and some bare ground. The bold pattern of eyespots and white bars on the upper wing surface is distinctive in much of its range, though compare related species in the same genus. (These are Mangrove Buckeye, Junonia evarete and Tropical Buckeye, Junonia genoveva, formerly considered one species, the Smoky Buckeye, Junonia evarete.) The eyespots likely serve to startle or distract predators, especially young birds. The species has many flights throughout the year, with mostly northward migrations for the summer. Much of the northern United States is only colonized in the fall from southern populations. Some of the later broods move southwards in the fall. Common buckeyes exhibit seasonal polyphenism, the summer version of the butterfly has light yellowish ventral wings and is called “linea”. The Fall morph has pink ventral wings, and is called the “rosa” morph.

Adults feed on nectar and also take fluids from mud and damp sand. Males perch on bare ground or low plants, occasionally patrolling in search of females, but they are not territorial. The female lays eggs singly on buds or the upper side of leaves. The caterpillars are solitary and feed on the foliage, flowers, and fruits of the host plant. A variety of (typically) herbaceous plants are used, including especially plants in the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae_). These include snapdragon (Antirrhinum_), toadflax (Linaria), and Gerardia. Caterpillars also feed on plants of the plantain family, such as Plantago; and the Acanthus family including ruellia (Ruellia nodiflora). Larvae feed singly. Adults and some larvae overwinter in southern areas. The pupa may not have a resting phase (diapause), as in many other butterflies.

This species and its relatives were placed formerly in the genus Precis.

The Common Buckeye was featured on the 2006 United States Postal Service 24-cent postage stamp.D. J. Wilcox Preserve, Ft. Pierce, FL

Partial proceeds of all sales of any of my butterfly prints are donated to MonarchWatch and/or Butterfly Conservation Initiative.

Featured in Just Butterflies – 10/05/09

Nikon D70s
70-300mm @ 300mm
F8, 1/1600
ISO 1600
8/27/09 – 598/16
Buckeye Beauty

All photos © Donna Adamski and may not be used, copied, reproduced, modified, transmitted, stored, printed, downloaded, or transferred in any way or form without written consent. Any exploitation of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without express written permission is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved. My images do NOT belong to the public domain.

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  • loiteke
    loitekeover 5 years ago

    Wow, thanks for adding it. Gorgeous photo.

  • Thank you very much Meeli and for adding this to your favorites :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • lorilee
    lorileeover 5 years ago

    A beautiful capture!!!

  • Thanks so much Lori :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • BCImages
    BCImagesover 5 years ago

    stunning donna

  • Thank you much Steve :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • Carmen Holly
    Carmen Hollyover 5 years ago

    A perfect beauty Donna…these are one of my favorites..so small & so sweet.

  • They are awesome! Thanks so much Carmen :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • sundawg7
    sundawg7over 5 years ago

    Hey Donna, great catch….definitely fave worthy. Love the muted background. Hugzzz, Ron

  • Got a few more shots of these, they were all over the place!! Thank you so much Ron and for adding this to your favorites :) Hugzzz

    – Donna Adamski

  • jesika
    jesikaover 5 years ago

    A beautiful insect & very interesting narrative, lovely shot, Donna

  • Thank you much Jesika :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • Valerie Anne Kelly
    Valerie Anne K...over 5 years ago

    Aww this is a beautiful capture sweetheART … ;} happy hippy hugglez

  • Thank you bunches Val :) Hugzzz

    – Donna Adamski

  • triciamary
    triciamaryover 5 years ago

    Great shot and interesting info!

  • Thank you kindly Tricia…appreciate it :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • jujubean
    jujubeanover 5 years ago

    what a beauty!!!! great catch! (I think I see a monarch cat hanging,ready to cocoon!!!) Not sure though because it doesn’t look big enough? But it is hanging on the pot in a J shape.

  • I’ve seen that happen, but usually they come out fine, sometimes a bit smaller. They do go through “resting periods” before they molt, but not in the J shape. Thanks Juju :)

    – Donna Adamski

  • TomBaumker
    TomBaumkerover 5 years ago

    Very nice closeup. I went back today used my 28 to 300 for more butterflies. Hugs…Tom

  • I can’t wait to see them!! Thanks so much my friend :) Hugzzz

    – Donna Adamski

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