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Common Buckeye Butterfly (Junonia coenia)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Common Buckeye Butterfly, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 2/17/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Common Buckeye Butterfly  
Picture of Common-Buckeye-Butterfly
Picture of Common-Buckeye-Butterfly Picture of Common-Buckeye-ButterflyPicture of Common-Buckeye-ButterflyPicture of Common-Buckeye-ButterflyPicture of Common-Buckeye-ButterflyPicture of Common-Buckeye-Butterfly

The Common Buckeye Butterfly has numerous bold eyespots on its forewing that resembles a 'buck's eye'.

The Common Buckeye is a member of the diverse Brush-footed Butterfly family. This means it is related to the Monarch, Viceroy, Malachite, and the Fritillary subfamily. The front pair of legs of these butterflies are very short and almost so difficult to see that many people only count 4 legs at first glance. In addition to their diminutive length, the front pair of legs are also covered in short bristles, or hairs, like a hair brush. Common Buckeyes are mostly brown and have one small and one large black-and-blue eyespot on every wing. These eyespots are ringed in orange and black. Two prominent orange bands on each forewing are near the head with a thick ivory band that encompasses the larger eyespot. Orange and light brown form a border at the bottom edges of the wings. The underside of the forewings are less ornate, retaining two medium-sized eyespots on a brown wing. Each antennae has a small knob at the tip.

Though seen occasionally as far north as Canada and the northern U.S. states, the Common Buckeye does not breed there. They prefer warmer states and can breed up to 4 times a year in warmer climates. They usually reside in open land. Males are very territorial and will fly out at anything that passes too closely. The caterpillar is a black color with white and orange lines and stripes. It also has black bristles sticking out on the dorsal (back) side at each pair of legs. These caterpillars love to feed on plants from the plantain, verbena, figwort, snapdragon, monkey flower, and stonecrop families.

Picture of the Common Buckeye Butterfly
Picture of the Common Buckeye Butterfly

Common Buckeye Butterfly Information

Category: Butterfly or Moth
Common Name: Common Buckeye Butterfly
Scientific Name: Junonia coenia

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Lepidoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Nymphalidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Junonia
       Arrow graphic Species: coenia

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 51 mm to 63 mm (1.989 inches to 2.457 inches)
Identifying Colors: brown, orange, white, black, yellow, blue, tan
Additional Descriptors: 4 legs, hairy, eyespot

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska; Nevada; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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