Common Buckeye

18 12 2009

This morning I came across this image of a butterfly that I photographed at Green Spring Gardens and have just identified it as a Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia), from the family of Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae). The caterpillar host plants are snapdragon, toadflax, figwort, monkey flower, plantain, tickseed, butterfly bush and water speedwell. Adults prefer nectar from plants such as aster, chickory, tickseed, coreopsis, butterfly bush and peppermint. Adults live for about ten days.

The website www.butterfliesandmoths.org aided me in identifying this “flying flower.”

This link here contains photos that chronicle the metamorphosis of the Common Buckeye Butterfly from caterpillar to chrysalis to adult (and includes shots of some unfortunate subjects serving as lunch for other insects!). One photo shows a tattered butterfly and states that such specimens “are able to fly and function normally with up to 2/3 of their wings missing.” I’ve often wondered how they fared with their wings in such bad shape. Then again, when you only live 10 days, you don’t have much time to worry about such things!

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