Common Buckeye Butterfly

(Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye:

The Common buckeye is well known for its distinctive large eyespots on the upper wing side.

Primarily a southern butterfly species, it emigrates North in the summer and is found in all parts of the United States except the northwest.

It can't withstand the northern winters, however, so is a resident only in the southern states.

On the eastern seaboard, large masses of emigrating butterflies can sometimes be seen.

Common buckeye


The Buckeye's habitat is open areas with low vegetation and some bare ground. Including trails, roadsides, open parks and gardens.


The Buckeye is mostly brown above, with a series of large eyespots: one on each fore-wing and two on each hind wing.

The eyespots likely serve to startle or distract predators, especially young birds.


They are fond of basking on bare ground, this butterfly will return again and again to the same spot.

It has a rapid, darting flight.

Male Buckeyes visit mud puddles for moisture.

Males perch on bare ground or low plants, occasionally patrolling in search of females, but they are not territorial.

Larvae and host plants:

A variety of (typically) herbaceous plants are used

Favored larval hosts include Plantain (Plantago), Snapdragon (Antirrhinum) and Toadflax (Linaria).

The Female Buckeye lays a single egg on buds or the upper side of leaves.

The larvae are solitary and feed on the foliage, flowers, and fruits of the host plant.

Larvae are mostly blackish, with blue-black spines running down the body.

Adults and some larvae overwinter in southern areas.

Buckeye Larvae

The pupa may not have a resting phase (diapause), as in many other butterflies.

Nectar plants:

Aster (Aster), Coreopsis (Coreopsis), Knapweed (Centaurea), Chickory (Chichorium) and several others.

Add a source of water in your gardens as the Common Buckeye and many other butterflies will drink from mud puddles or from the rim of a birdbath.

Common Buckeye and Other Butterflies

More Information on Butterflies

A Butterfly Friendly Yard

Create a Butterfly Garden

Nectar and Butterfly Plants

Share Your Passions, I am with "SBI"

Butterflies, Birds, Gardens and Much more.

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