Junonia coenia
Common Buckeye

Family Description:
Some authors refer to this species with the genus name Precis.
Caterpillar: The caterpillar is dark gray to black and covered with black branching spines. It is marked lengthwise with two rows of orange spots along the back and two rows of white spots along the side. The legs and head are marked with orange. It can reach a maximum length of 1 1/4 inches.
Adult: This is a medium-sized to fairly large butterfly, with a wingspan of 1 5/8 to 2 3/4 inches. The upperside is brown and strikingly marked. The forewing has two orange bars and two eyespots, one larger than the other; both eyespots are black with purple centers. There is a beige wavy band that encircles the larger eyespot and continues to the upper edge of the wing. The hindwing also has two eyespots, both outlined with a wide yellow band and a thin black line, with black and purple in the center. The larger of the two also has a spot of pink in the inside. The hindwing is also marked with an orange band just inside from the edge, and two yellowish lines along the edge, both broken into bars by brown. The underside is brown and marked similarly to the upperside but much fainter. The underside of the hindwing varies in color from brown to tan to reddish.

This species is a resident of the southernmost portion of the U.S., north along both of the coasts, and south through Mexico. It migrates north through most of the U.S. during the spring and summer. It has been documented in two counties of Idaho, Owyhee and Franklin.


It occurs in open, lowland areas characterized by having low vegetation and areas of bare ground.


Caterpillar: Caterpillars feed on the leaves of a variety of plants from several families, including snapdragon (Scrophulariaceae), acanthus (Acanthaceae), plantain (Plantaginaceae), and vervain (Verbenaceae).
Adult: Butterflies drink flower nectar, most often from flowers belonging to the sunflower family (Asteraceae).


There are multiple generations of caterpillars, essentially all year long, in the southernmost portion of its range; elsewhere there are two or three. Caterpillars and adults may overwinter in a physiological state called diapause, or they may remain active, depending on the climate of their locality. Adults generally fly from April through October in most of its range, but may fly all year in the south.


Males perch to wait for receptive females, and although not truly territorial may actively chase anything passing by. Females lay eggs singly on the upperside of leaves or on leaf buds of host plants.

Idaho Status: Unprotected nongame species.
Global Rank:

G5; populations are widespread, abundant, and secure.

Ferris, C. D. and F. M. Brown. (eds.) 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States. Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 442 pp.

Opler, P. A., H. Pavulaan, and R. E. Stanford. 1995. Butterflies of North America. Jamestown, North Dakota, USA: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Home Page. http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/distr/lepid/bflyusa/bflyusa.htm (Version 05Nov98).

Opler, P. A. and A. B.Wright. 1999. A Field Guide to the Western Butterflies.   Second Edition.  Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, New York, USA, 540 pp.

Pyle, R. M. 1981. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, New York, USA, 924 pp.

Scott, J. A. 1986. The Butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA, 583 pp.

Stanford, R. E. and P. A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western U.S.A. Butterflies (Including Adjacent Parts of Canada and Mexico). Published by authors, Denver, Colorado, USA, 275 pp.