Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly: Wingspan: 1½ - 2¾ inches (4.2 - 7 cm). Upperside is brown. Forewing has 2 orange cell bars and 2 eyespots. Hindwing has 2 eyespots; the upper one is larger and contains a magenta crescent. The underside of the hindwing is brown or tan in the wet season (summer) and rose-red in the dry season (fall). Females tend to be larger.  

ID Tip: Upperside displays striking, multicolored eyespots on forewings and hindwings.

Egg: Ribbed, small stubby green eggs are laid singly on host plant foliage. Often placed on the upper surface of the leaf.

Caterpillar: Black with lateral white stripes, orange patches and branched spines.

Chrysalis: Mottled pale brown or dark gray brown.  Rows of short conical projections on abdomen.  

Common Buckeyes are habitat generalists, requiring little more than open sunny areas and intermittent patches of ground for males to perch and establish territories. They are common throughout Alabama and have been documented in every county.

In Alabama, buckeyes are easy to identify because nothing else looks quite like them.  Yet, they are so variable in appearance that no two seem to look exactly alike.  All buckeyes sport large, showy eyespots, perhaps making them look like goggle-eyed monsters to potential predators.

Distribution and Abundance

A dot on the county map indicates that there is at least one documented record of the species within that county. In some cases, a species may be common throughout the county, in others it may be found in only a specific habitat. The High Count information shows the highest numbers recorded for this species as well as when and where they occurred.

The sightings bar graphs depict the timing of flight(s) within each of three geographic regions. Place your cursor on a bar within the graph to see the number of individuals recorded during that period.

The abundance calendar displays the total number of individuals recorded within each week of the month. Both the graphs and the calendar are on based data collection that began in 2000.

The records analyzed here are only a beginning. As more data is collected, these maps and graphs will paint a more accurate picture of distribution and abundance in Alabama. Submit your sightings to

Sightings in the following counties: Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, Colbert, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Dallas, Dekalb, DeKalb, Elmore, Escambia, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Marengo, Marion, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Washington, Wilcox, Winston

  • Map Symbol for Recent Sightings Sightings in the past 5 years
  • Map Symbol for Semi-Recent Sightings Sightings in the past 5 - 10 years
  • Map Symbol for Old Sightings Sightings more than 10 years ago

High count(s):

  • 95 - Baldwin - 10/3/2015
  • 85 - Dallas - 8/15/2015
  • 80 - Winston - 9/5/2010
County Distribution Map

View county names by moving the mouse over a county or view a map with county names

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
3 5 2 2 34 39 14 33 25 39 50 27 135 184 101 181 134 169 238 250 240 129 100 123 141 221 247 113 194 307 327 470 241 327 475 305 465 199 246 224 64 99 60 45 39 37 64


A wide variety of open sunny habitats with patches of bare ground. 

Common Buckeye
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
© Sara Bright
Purple Gerardia/Purple False Foxglove

Host and Nectar Plants

Various plants within the Acanthus, Figwort, and Plantain family are reported elsewhere. 

In addition to the plants listed below, Climbing Snapdragon Vine (Maurandya/Asarina scandens) has also been documented in Alabama.


For more information about these plants, please visit the Alabama Plant Atlas using the links above.

Common Buckeye
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
© Sara Bright
Purple Gerardia/Purple Foxglove
Common Buckeye
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
© Sara Bright
Wild Petunia
Common Buckeye
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
© Sara bright
Common Gerardia/Purple Foxglove

Landscaping Ideas

Buckeyes are avid nectarers. Including a variety of flowers such as Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia spp.), Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), Joe Pye Weeds (Eutrochium spp.), asters (Symphyotrichum spp.), ironweeds (Vernonia spp.), Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and Blue Mistflower/Wild Ageratum (Conoclinium coelestinum) in your landscape will provide food for butterflies like Common Buckeyes throughout the growing season.