Thursday, October 20, 2016

Common Buckeye Butterfly

The Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) was one of the first butterfly species I learned to identify, when I was probably somewhere around junior high age.  They are common in central California, as well as across the Southern United States, and prefer open habitat with low vegetation and some bare ground, as well as good sun exposure.  This beautiful Buckeye was found along the Tuolumne River in the Waterford area.
Adult Common Buckeyes feed on nectar from a variety of plants, including composites such as aster, chicory and gumplant.  Larvae feed on the leaves of plants in the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae) such as our native monkey flowers (Mimulus spp.).  The function of the prominent eyespots on the butterfly's wings is likely to startle would-be predators, giving the butterfly an extra second to escape.

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