04 Jun About the Butterflies at Krohn Conservatory Part 2
Written by: Regina E., Parks Entomologist
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Common Buckeyes are an easily identifiable butterfly; they are a beautiful chocolate color with wavy orange and white lines and colorful eyespots that range from blue to purple. They can occasionally be found flying in Ohio during late summer and in the fall. They live year-round in the southern parts of the United States and Mexico, but in late spring they begin migrating north, sometimes as far as Canada.
Common Buckeyes prefer sunny habitats that are more open and have low vegetation, such as parks, yards, and gardens. In a butterfly garden, some favorite nectar plants are asters, coneflowers, ironweed, joe pye weed, black-eyed susans, tickseed, dogbane and chicory. The caterpillars will eat snapdragons, toadflax and plantains, and including these host plants in your butterfly garden will encourage the adults to stay around longer for egg laying. Whether in the Krohn Conservatory Butterfly Show or in a local park or garden, Common Buckeyes are quick, erratic fliers that are fun to watch as they zip from flower to flower. Shown below.
Leopard lacewing (Cethosia cyane)
The Leopard Lacewing is a colorful butterfly with about a 3-inch wingspan. They get their common name by their wing color patterns. They have intricate geometric designs of black, white, red, and orange on their wings, and around the edges of their wings they have a white lace-like pattern on a contrasting black border. It is interesting to note that the males and females are sexually dimorphic, meaning they look different. The orange on the males is a bright orange-red color, while the females are a very soft orange, almost cream-colored. It is not uncommon among butterfly species for males to be more colorful than females, and the color differences between them are significant. It is thought that these butterflies are distasteful so the bright orange on the males serve as a warning color to ward off predators. Since the females are much more vulnerable when laying eggs, they are a more neutral color to help them not be as visible to predators.
Leopard Lacewings are native to Asia; they can be found in the forest habitats in southern China, and from India to Thailand, and of course Bali. While their caterpillars feed on Passiflora plants, the adults enjoy drinking nectar from flowers such as asters and lantana, making them common visitors in urban gardens and parks. These butterflies are abundant in the Krohn Conservatory Butterfly Show and can easily be found fluttering from flower to flower. Shown below.