Friday, October 9, 2009


Buckeye Butterflies (Aesculus coenia) are very common, yet uniquely marked butterflies that are found throughout most of the United States. The first picture here is of a caterpillar getting ready to form a cocoon. I brought it inside and by the next morning it had formed a cocoon. Within 10 days it had became a beautiful butterfly.

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?


  1. Buckeye's my favorite, next to the Zebra Swallowtail. The poem is nice and brought back memories of the little Buckeye's I chased as a child...

    You certainly have great information on this blog, MObugs! I scrolled through a bit and became jealous of your damselfly photos. I haven't been able to get one of those yet!

    Then then was the Orb Weaver. I'm fascinated by them. Have you ever walked through their web? I did two summers ago and unknowingly carried the spider into my sunroom where I found another web the next morning. I still get the shivers when I remember it!

  2. Thank you Mary for your kind comments. I love buckeyes too, they are so pretty.
    To answer your question, yes I have walked through orb weaver webs, on many occasions. Each time I am completely freaked out! I have invented dance moves that no one should have to see. I've not carried one into my house as of yet, but I have had them crawling on me. I freely admit that while I am fascinated by spiders, I am also terrified of them. I respect their beauty as long as they aren't on my person... then it's me or them! LOL

  3. Fine images of a favorite butterfly. Up here in Massachusetts, Buckeyes are tourists. I see them most often along the Atlantic coast at the same time Monarchs migrate. If I'm lucky I'll see one or two a year - sometimes more in a big migration year.

  4. Thanks Tom, glad u stopped by. Buckeyes are pretty common here in this part of Missouri, I usually see several each season. They seem to be especially plentiful at a local conservation area I visit, which is where these images were captured. I've always wanted to see a migration of butterflies, but so far I haven't been at the right place at the right time :o)