Common Buckeye

bob_71(z7 MD)October 4, 2010

Last year (2009) was my first year to actively work at attracting and photographing butterflies. One of the butterflies that I most wanted to attract was the Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia). For the entire year, I had just one come by...he pitched for just an instant on the ground and then flew away. That was it for the year.

This year, I planted about a dozen Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) in three planter boxes hoping to attract the Buckeyes. I did, in fact have a bumper crop of them this year. They were constantly nectaring on a broad variety of plants and constantly chasing each other. Though I was not a witness, some of the chases must have resulted in catches because my planter boxes have been full of caterpillars all season long. I have had from 3 to 13 caterpillars without interruption.

We just had our three-day tropical rainstorm (11"). The rains ended in the early morning of the first and I got to see three of my caterpillars pupate that afternoon. When I checked about noon the first had completed the chrysalis and it was dry. The second had just completed "pulling up his britches" and they were still wet. The third had completed the attaching and had assumed the "J" posture. All three had completed the chrysalis' by late that afternoon.

Thanks for looking these over

Bob

One of my favorites and certainly one of the most photogenic in my garden.

My planters are badly "grazed over" now.

The first was already dry...just look at that zipper work on the underside...looks like something Elvis or Liberace would have worn! I can't help but wonder if that collapsed area, about where the left inside shoulder would be, will cause any grief?

The second still had that wet look indicating recent completion of the chrysalis.

And the last one was just starting the final stage.

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runmede(7a Virginia)

Great shots. I love these guys, too. This year I had caterpillars on Veronica and English Plantain. In the past years, I've planted Snapdragons, but haven't had any luck.

This was an irruption year for the Buckeye and many other butterflies.

I was just reading in a book that I recently bought "Butterfly Farmer" by Newman. He stated that years that they had bad winters and very hot summers that there were a lot more butterflies flying.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 6:13PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Bob,
You are making me wish I had Buckeyes... They are so beautiful!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 8:38PM
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imabirdnut

What great pictures!!!
I usually only see a few in late autumn here but I am making plans for them.
I so want to attract these guys that I am creating a new flower bed...I was already planning on English Plantain & Snap Dragons. I have veronica as well in several other flower beds. Any other good host plant suggestions to add to the bed?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 12:11AM
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bananasinohio(6OH)

The dent in the chrysalis could cause the adult to have a misshapen wing but not necessarily. Only time will tell.

Fantastic pictures! We have had so many here this year, they have become...gasp...boring! I counted 88 of them a little over a week ago. Most years we are excited to see one or two. Great butterfly year.

Cheers,
Elisabeth

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 6:40AM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Bob, You have done it again. My goodness, your photographs absolutely take my breath away. So beautiful! I love the Buckeyes too. They have always been one of my favorite butterflies. Like Elisabeth though, I have found myself looking past them to try to find something else in the yard this season. They really have been so plentiful.
Angie

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 6:58AM
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seedmoney

Dude,
Your pictures are so spectacular I feel guilty looking at them....

Regards,
seedmoney

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 8:44AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Love your photos, Bob. You have definitely been blessed by the Buckeyes this year. Thanks for sharing with us your beautiful photographs of the butterflies that have graced your garden.

Sandy

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 11:20AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Beautiful pictures, Bob! I love those buckeyes, too, so I'll have to add snapdragons to my garden.
Sherry

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 11:37AM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

The Columbus paper had an article this past Sunday about the abundance of Buckeyes this year.

Here is a link that might be useful: This year's feast of butterflies good news for songbirds

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 5:02PM
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jrcagle(z7 MD)

What I like about your pictures is that they capture the feel of seeing the individuals live. When I see that first shot, I could be looking right at him in the field.

Jeff

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 8:15PM
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bev2009(6 IN)

Beautiful pictures. It's a shame they are called "Common" because they look uncommonly beautiful to me. I had a few in the garden this year, but I don't believe I have any host plants, something I will remedy next year!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 10:57PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Neat article kc! It's really so true. Each species of citters depends upon the others. It's the "Circle of Life." The abundance of Buckeye cats means that we may be able to see more birds this winter.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 7:06AM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

runmede, I don't grow any veronica at this time and I have two (intentional) plantains but I am not sure of the type.

tiffy, this year they were nectaring on everything!

imabirdnut, I have been involved with birding for over 60 years now and I can tell you that I do a heck of a lot better at properly ID'ing them! I have lots of photos of them, too.

Elisabeth, thanks for the information on the collapsed area!

Angie, glad it is a good butterfly year for you.

seedmoney, thanks for your comments and see my other post on Wild Sienna Seeds in case you need some.

Sandy, thanks for your kind comments!

Miss Sherry, Thanks, too, for your kind words.

kcclark, it was an interesting article by the young man!

Jeff, I guess what gives them that 'in the field" look, is that is where I shoot them, and shoot them, and shoot them. I really do shoot lots of pictures so I end up with lots to choose from. Being long ago retired, I can afford the time to make the choices. Thank you so much for your comments.

Bev 2009, while all my Buckeye caterpillars showed up on my snapdragons, I also grow Wild Petunia and other host plants that were not as successful. I SAW all my Buckeyes on nectaring plants, on the ground and on the rotting fruit feeders.

My warm thanks to all of you who commented and for all of you who didn't comment...thanks for looking!

Bob

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 4:53PM
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bluebirdms_z7ms

I've just "noticed" the Common Buckeye and he is beautiful! I've had cats on my snapdragon and also on a smaller summer snapdragon and they grew about a week and disappeared; never saw a chrysalis anywhere. I don't have much experience, but did have BST and Monarchs for a couple of years and the BST used the sticks I put in the pots or in the ground

Any comments on this? I see plantain is another host plant; do many of you use this and do you buy it or dig it up?

Sylvia

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 10:20PM
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