Cheryl Harner's Flora and Butterfly Blog
Weedpicker's Journal: Discover the native plants of Ohio and the butterflies that utilize them.
Mangrove Buckeye January 28, 2009
photo

Not all Buckeyes are associated with Ohio State. Here in Ohio, the migrant butterfly we see is the Common Buckeye, Junonia coenia. The males are pugnacious defenders of their territories and fairly easy to find in mid to late summer throughout Ohio. They rely heavily on host plants from the snapdragon family. (see inset photo)

The large photo of a Buckeye was recently taken at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on Cape Canaveral Florida. Merritt Island was a salt water marsh, with an interesting history in its own right, and the vegetation is heavy with Mangroves.

The Mangrove Buckeye, Junonia evarete is found mostly in Florida and Texas along the coastal marshes. Unlike the Common Buckeye its host plant is Black Mangrove, Avicennia germinans.The differences were not apparent to me, until reading in Jaret Daniels literature about the Mangrove Buckeye. The subtle clues, besides its host plant, which make this Buckeye a stand out are found in the large "eye spots". If you number them 1 and 2 on the fore-wing and 3 and 4 on the hind-wing, look at the size of number 3 spot. It is smaller on the Mangrove Buckeye, making all the spots look closer in size. Also, the field around spot 2 has no black circle, only orange field.

Would it make a difference in our life if this butterfly no longer existed, who but the pros would even know? As Aldo Leopold said "every cog and every wheel." These niches of wildlife which we may not even perceive are the markers for the delicate balance of nature, and I feel richer for knowing another species.

2009-01-28 12:00:19 GMT
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