Common Buckeye

Junonia coenia

Family: Brushfoot (Nymphalidae)

Life History: Two to three broods May to October; year round in the south. Adults and caterpillars winter over in the south.

Range: East coast into portions of the midwest; scattered in the south midwest into California; absent in the Pacific NW and upper northern midwestern states.

Forms: Rosa or Fall/Winter form characterized by reddish colorations and markings of the ventral fore- and hindwings.

SKU BB112 Category Tag

Life Cycle

Ribgrass Plantain
Common Buckeye host plant
Ribgrass Plantain
Flowers draw very tiny bees and other teensy pollinators
Early instar
Very early instar caterpillar
Early instar
Late instar
Ready to pupate!
Late instar
Observed in the wild
Side view of chrysalis
Ventral view of chrysalis
Male circles the female
Common Buckeye
Unusual amount of blue on the upper forewing
Raising Common Buckeyes

The hardest part about raising Common Buckeyes is finding the caterpillars. Especially if you have a yard full of ribgrass plantains.

I recommend growing ribgrass in one gallon pots and place them in an open location where the female has access to lay eggs. This way you can easily monitor the plants for caterpillars. You can transfer the found caterpillars to a critter keeper for hand raising.

Also grow some ribgrass plants in small containers that will fit inside a critter keeper. When caterpillars are ready to pupate they will usually climb up to the cage lid to make their chrysalis.

Butterflies that eclose in September and October will be the rosa form (also called fall/winter form). The ventral hind and forewings will have variation in reddish color and markings.

Additional host plants include: toadflax, snapdragons, Ruellia, Verbena, and turkey tangle frogfruit. 

Raising Tips

  • If raising on ribgrass plantain we recommend keeping the plant in pots as the leaves wilt very quickly.
  • The caterpillars hide very well. Let them raise themselves up until late instar, putting them in a cage for pupation and to protect their chrysalis.

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