As its name implies, the Common Buckeye is a widespread butterfly, but not in Canada. It is found in the southern regions of the United States. In summer, adults move northward, sometimes reaching southern Canada. On Monday, as I was walking through the horse pasture, a butterfly flew up near me and I was able to get a photograph. It proved to be the first Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) that I’ve spotted in Ontario.
Buckeyes are members of the Nymphalidae family, the brush-footed butterflies. The name ‘brush-footed’ refers to the manner in which the front pair of legs of adults are shortened and covered in hairs, suggesting a little bottlebrush. Buckeyes are named for the eye spots on their wings, perhaps a ploy to disconcert predators, allowing the butterfly a few moments to effect an escape.
As I spotted the Buckeye on Monday, after tropical storm Irene blew through south of here, Seabrooke suggested that perhaps this individual had been pushed north by the storm.
Postscript: I have learned that Buckeyes have been seen across southern Ontario over the past few weeks, but this sighting was the first recorded for my area, southeastern Ontario.