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Posts Tagged ‘Common Buckeye butterfly’

Although I don’t live in Ohio, nicknamed “The Buckeye State,” I think that I can claim that Virginia also is a Buckeye state, because we are a home to the uncommonly beautiful Common Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia).

Common Buckeye butterfly

I have seen few colorful butterflies so far this summer, besides the Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies that I featured in a posting in June. Where are all the Monarchs and Eastern Swallowtails? I don’t know if they were affected by the polar vortex of this past winter or if I am merely looking for them in all the wrong places, but their numbers seem to be unusually low this summer.

I was therefore thrilled this past Monday, when I caught sight of this Common Buckeye. Its coloration is so distinctive that I immediately recognized it and chased after it a bit. Fortunately I was able to capture several images of this beautiful creature before it flew out of sight.

Looking at these images, I am happy to proclaim that I live in a Buckeye state.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday was a common day for finding subjects to photograph. I already posted a photo of a Common Whitetail dragonfly. Here’s a photo of the Common Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia).

A month ago I featured the Common Buckeye in a posting after my first encounter with this type of butterfly. Yesterday I was shooting in the middle of the day and there was more sunlight that I would have liked when. However, I managed to get a shot of the butterfly in which the sun is shining through one of its wings, highlighting the beauty of those wings. There are still some harsh shadows in the photo and the colors are not as saturated as they would have been with more diffused light, but I find that the colors and patterns of this butterfly make it uncommonly beautiful.

Common Buckeye butterfly in mid-September

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I continue to be mystified by the names of the insects that I photograph. Yesterday I spotted this very striking butterfly that I later learned is called the Common Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia).  What makes it common? If it’s so common, why have I never seen one before? The vivid colors and prominent eyespots make it anything but common to me.

Common Buckeye butterfly

Here’s another view of the butterfly. The internal tear in the wing makes it clear that it is the same specimen. If you want to learn more about the Common Buckeye, check out this article on the BugGuide website, which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite places to browse and research.

Common Buckeye butterfly

One interesting fact about the Common Buckeye is that it was featured on a 24-cent US postage stamp in 2006. If you want to see what the stamp looks like, visit the Arago website. Arago, named after François Arago, a 19th century French scientist and friend of James Smithson, is a resource of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

One of the nice things about living in the Washington, D.C. area is having access to the Smithsonian Museums, most of which have free admission.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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