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Nature Archive Photo
© Bruce D. Taubert

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Common Buckeye Butterfly

By Danielle Grobmeier

It’s always nice to come across one of the more agreeable members of the natural world — the butterfly. With its often spectacular and unique markings, the beauty of a butterfly can be a simple surprise. Identified by the eyespots that dot its wings, the common buckeye butterfly, with its light olive-brown coloring and yellow-white markings, does not fall short. Although the common buckeye’s eyespot markings are aesthetically pleasing, they can also be used to scare away or deter predators, such as birds, snakes and lizards.

The common buckeye is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan that can reach nearly
3 inches in some cases. It’s found in most of North America, particularly the South and Southwest. It’s primarily attracted to sunny, open areas with low vegetation, and males use these sparse conditions to watch for females. The females lay eggs two or three times per year.

Plants, including snapdragons and plantains, are typical hosts for common buckeye caterpillars, which vary in color but generally have black bodies, white and orange features, and metallic blue-black dorsal spines.

The common buckeye is a migratory butterfly; however, butterflies in warmer southern states, such as Arizona, will sometimes overwinter, rather than migrate.

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