Wild South Florida — Common Buckeye Butterfly
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Common Buckeye Butterfly
common buckeye butterfly
Commong buckeye butterfly, photographed at Pondhawk Scrub Natural Area.
common butterfly feeding on spanish needles

The common buckeye, Junonia coenia, is pretty much common throughout Florida. It's found on the edges of forests, along beaches, wet meadows, roadsides and other places in all 67 Sunshine State counties throughout the year. Its global range includes southern Canada as far west as Manitoba, most of the United States except the northwest and most of Mexico. Both sexes are similar in appearance, but the undersides of common buckeye can vary depending on the season in which it is born — lighter in the wet season, darker in the dry. Its wingspan can approach three inches.

common buckeye butterfly
common buckeye

Common buckeye host plants include plantain, false foxglove, Florida toadflax and frogfruit. Females will lay a single green egg (no ham) on the leaves of the host, where their offspring will spend their first few days munching away. The butterfly produces at least three generations during the year.

Common buckeyes migrate northward during the warmer months, then starting in late summer, they begin to s hightail it to Florida for the winter. Florida does have a resident popluation, however, and common buckeyes are spotted here year round.

It gets its name from the series of conspicuous eyespots on the wings that look like targets. Common buckeyes are also known as the buckeye butterfly and brush-footed butterfly. It is a member of Nymphalidae, the brush-foot family. There is no evidence that this butterfly is in any way connected with the Ohio State University, not that there's anything wrong with that.

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