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Fun Common Buckeye Butterfly Facts For Kids

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The common buckeye, or Junonia coenia, is a species of butterfly found in Canada and most of the United States, including Florida, Carolina, Cuba, and Mexico. They are not endemic and are migratory. They are a species that has the conservation status of Least Concern and has a stable population. Although they have a short lifespan, they are known to pollinate a lot of plants and help the ecosystem. These butterflies usually rely on plant nectar of a variety of flowers as food. Caterpillars usually feed on host plants like plantain or Plantago, gerardia, ruellia, blue toadflax, monkeyflowers, wild snapdragons, false foxglove, and stonecrop. They have a lot of predators, including birds, spiders, frogs, wasps, and ants.

The appearance can be easily identified. They have tan-brown wings, orange bands on the forewing, and three large eyespots. These eyespots are usually purplish-black and present on both of the wings. The common buckeye caterpillar, or the larval stage, has blue veins and an orange-cream pattern on each side.

If you enjoyed reading about this butterfly, check out morpho butterfly facts and purple emperor butterfly facts.

Fun Common Buckeye Butterfly Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Plant Nectar

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

100-300 eggs

How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

1.5-2.75 in (3.8-7 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown, Orange, White

Skin Type


What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Open Sunny Plains


North America









Common Buckeye Butterfly Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a common buckeye butterfly?

The common buckeye, Junonia coenia, is a type of insect or butterfly found in southern Canada, Florida, Cuba, South Carolina, and California. They are identified by their eyespots, and the caterpillar can be found in a variety of host plants.

What class of animal does a common buckeye butterfly belong to?

The common buckeyes butterfly belongs to the class of Arthropods from the Junonia genus of the Nymphalidae family. The scientific name of these butterflies is Junonia coenia.

How many common buckeye butterflies are there in the world?

For the common buckeye, Junonia coenia, the population is unknown. However, as a secure species, these butterflies are not in any danger of going extinct and have a stable population.

Where does a common buckeye butterfly live?

The common buckeye butterfly lives in the open sunny plains of North America, including all of the United States and southern Canada. These butterflies can be found in Alabama, Idaho, northern California, Florida, southern Mexico, Cuba, South Carolina, and the Isle of Pines.

What is a common buckeye butterfly's habitat?

The common buckeyes butterfly generally lives in habitats with open sunny plains and low vegetation, as well as some plain grounds or intermittent patches of bare ground. These butterflies can also be found in fields, meadows, parks, pastures, and other places with weeds. The caterpillar is usually found on host plants the mothers lay them on. Some of the host plants are gerardia, ruellia, blue toadflax, and stonecrop.

Who do common buckeye butterflies live with?

The common buckeye butterfly, or Junonia coenia, is often seen alone and mostly lives a solitary life. Even as caterpillars, these butterflies prefer staying alone and avoiding groups. The common buckeye butterfly will be seen in pairs during the breeding season.

How long does a common buckeye butterfly live?

The average lifespan of a common buckeye butterfly adult can range from six to 20 days. These butterflies live a shorter life compared to other animals.

How do they reproduce?

Common buckeyes butterflies can mate all year round but can be restricted to summer in the north. To look for female butterflies, the males tend to perch on the ground and wait for one to pass by. Females that will mate will land next to them for mating. Courtship behavior includes folding wings and fluttering wings. After mating, the common buckeye, Junonia coenia, are known to lay their eggs on a wide variety of host plants which include blue toadflax, plantain or Plantago, false foxglove, toadflax linaria, Mexican petunia, and cudweed. Like most butterflies, the common buckeye butterfly is assumed to lay about 100-300 eggs per season. The larvae feed on the host plant, turn into caterpillars, and then a pupa before becoming adults. The egg stage lasts four to 14 days, the larval stage lasts two to four weeks, and the pupal stage can be seven to 15 days.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the common buckeye butterfly is of Least Concern or Secure according to the IUCN. Their populations are stable, with no need for conservation efforts.

Common Buckeye Butterfly Fun Facts

What do common buckeye butterflies look like?

Get to know more information about the common buckeye Junonia coenia and their habitat or host plants

The common buckeye butterfly adults have brown wings and three eyespots on each wing. One is located on the forewing, while the other eyespots are on the hind wing and are reddish to purple. The common buckeye, Junonia coenia, has orange bars or bands on the forewing. The colors of the adults may vary, and the fall species may have red under-hindwing due to lower temperatures, while the summer species has tan wings. Other than that, the egg of a common buckeye is a dark green butterfly. The larva or caterpillar is black with orange-cream spots on the sides and bluish-black spines. After the larval stage, the pupa has varied colors like light spotted orange-brown, dark orange-brown, or black.

How cute are they?

The purplish-black eyespots and orange bands of the common buckeye butterfly are very interesting and beautiful. Even though they have short lives, the birds also help the ecosystem by pollination. They are just as cute as they are hardworking.

How do they communicate?

The common buckeye butterfly usually communicates using chemical cues and pheromones. They can also communicate using body language like flapping wings during courtship.

How big is a common buckeye butterfly?

The common buckeye, Junonia coenia, has a wingspan of 1.5-2.75 in (3.8-7 cm). A small common buckeye butterfly can be half the size of a monarch butterfly.

How fast can a common buckeye butterfly fly?

The average speed of the flight of the common buckeye butterfly is not yet calculated.

How much does a common buckeye butterfly weigh?

The weight of a common buckeye species is almost negligible.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no male and female names for the adults of this species.

What would you call a baby common buckeye butterfly?

Baby common buckeye butterflies can be called eggs, pupa, or caterpillars depending on the growth stage they are in.

What do they eat?

The common adult buckeye, Junonia coenia, usually feeds on plant nectar, and in some rare cases, they may also feed on mud on the edges of pools for salt or minerals. The caterpillars mainly feed on the leaves or nectar of a variety of host plants or flowers. These host plants can be plantain or Plantago, gerardia, ruellia, blue toadflax, monkeyflowers, wild snapdragons, false foxglove, or stonecrop. Common predators include spiders, wasps, birds, and snakes.

Are they dangerous?

The common buckeye is not dangerous and rarely interacts with humans. They are important pollinators and contribute to the ecosystem.

Would they make a good pet?

The common buckeyes are good pets when they are in the larval stage or are caterpillars. It can be an interesting non-traditional pet to observe and grow. After they become butterflies, it's better to let them free and enjoy their freedom. Butterflies need a lot of space, food and have ecosystem roles they have to fulfill. To do that, they need to live and fly freely!

Did you know...

The common buckeye butterfly is a species that can migrate to southern areas when the temperature cools down from September to October. The adult can fly spring through fall while laying several broods during the whole journey. They can migrate back from the south to their original northern habitat during the spring season. Males can fly 564 ft (172 m), and females fly 938 ft (286 m) while migrating.

What is the wingspan of the common buckeye butterfly?

The wingspan of an adult common buckeye butterfly can range from 1.5-2.75 in (3.8-7 cm). The adults are the only stage in the lifecycle of a common buckeye that has wings.

How to identify the common buckeye butterflies?

The common buckeye has three purplish-black eyespots, one on the upper wing and two on the hindwing. It is generally brown but may have red under its hindwing during the fall due to low temperatures. They also have two orange bars or bands on the forewing. The common buckeye caterpillar can be identified with its blackish-blue branching spines, redhead, and orange-cream streaking on the sides.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods with our earwig facts and centipede facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable common buckeye butterfly coloring pages.

Written By
Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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