Butterflies at Home

Common Buckeye

Buckeye Butterfly Coloration, Markings and Size

The Common Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia) is brown above. The forewing features two orange bars and two large black eyespots outlined in orange. The hindwing has two eyespots, with the upper one being the largest and containing a magenta crescent.

Typical size of the Buckeye is in the 2.0" - 2.8" range.

Distribution and Habitat

Buckeyes prefer open, sunny locations in fields and clearings. They are nervous, and alert, and fly quickly when nearby movement is detected.

It cannot live in freezing temperatures, but moves quickly northward in the spring to most of the United States and south Canada. The population swells in the fall during the southward migration.

Common Buckeye nectaring on Hydrangea
Buckeye Butterfly on Hydrangea


Nectar and Host Plants Used by the Common Buckeye

The favorite host plants of the Buckeye include snapdragon, gerardia, false foxglove, monkey flowers, plantains, ruellia and others.

They can be found on a variety of nectar plants such as Zinnia, Butterfly Bush, Hydrangea, and others. Buckeyes also take fluids from mud and damp sand.

Common Buckeye Butterfly Life Cycle Stages and Times

Stage Typical Duration
Egg stage 4 to 14 days
Caterpillar (larval) stage 2 to 4 weeks
Chrysalis (pupal) stage 7 to 14 days
Adult butterfly stage 6 to 20 days



Photos of the Common Buckeye Butterfly

Buckeye Butterfly on yellow Zinnia (dorsal view)
Buckeye Butterfly on yellow Zinnia

Buckeye Butterfly (ventral view)
Buckeye Butterfly ... wings closed

Buckeye Butterfly
Buckeye Butterfly

Buckeye Butterfly
Buckeye Butterfly

Pair of Buckeye Butterflies on wildflowers
Pair of Buckeye Butterflies on wildflowers

The Common Buckeye Butterfly gathering nectar from wildflowers
Buckeye Butterfly on white wildflowers in Texas

The Common Buckeye Butterfly caterpillar
Common Buckeye Caterpillar