They are average in size with wingspans up to 2 3/4 inches. These lovely flying flowers cannot be mistaken for any other species. They are mostly brown with two large orange eyespots on the hindwings. The largest eyespot is on the forewing, it also contains a purplish circle within the eyespot. It is probable that the eyespots are a deterrent to would be predators.
Males will perch during the day low to the ground waiting for passing females. Males of this species are very territorial and will chase away other males. After mating, females will lay tiny green eggs one at a time on the leaf buds or the upperside of the leaves of several different host plants. These include anything in the snapdragon family, the plantain family and the acanthus family. Adults and caterpillars overwinter in their southern most range. Adults will feed on nectar from many different flowers including peppermint, chickory, knapweed, dogbane, aster and many others. Look for them in a wide variety of habitats, like open fields, grassy areas with wildflowers present. They are commonly found in sunny open areas with some bare ground exposed and low vegetation.
I ran across this poem a few years ago on the internet and fell in love with it
Little Buckeye Butterfly
By: Thee Mouseman (2006)
Hey, little Buckeye, what brings you to my pen?
Haven't seen you since I was what, 'bout ten
Stay here awhile and remind me of way back then.
Yes, yes all too true, life was simple and without care.
All we ever wanted was a little sunshine and a little fresh air.
I recall chasing you all day, never getting mad when you got away.
Dancing in the garden running this way and that
Running 'till I fell with laughter on my back
Were you sent here to bring this little boy home,
Or just to remind me that we are all alone?
I do not understand, all we ever wanted
Was a little sunshine and little fresh air.
Somewhere along the way I failed to care.
I know, I know I have become a tangle weed,
I still want that sunshine and fresh air,
Perhaps to understand why I did fail to care.
What's that you say?
Sky Father made flowers and weeds, some pretty and
Some quite glum, but all with the ability for a
Little sunshine and fresh air.
Little Buckeye Butterfly, what brings you to my yard?