Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Common Buckeye Subspecies--Junonia coenia grisea

Yesterday, I led my first butterfly walk of the season at the UC Botanical Garden. About a half a dozen kids and adults participated. Early on in the walk, someone spotted this butterfly on the road. It kind of looked like a buckeye. And buckeyes like to settle on the road. I had seen that behavior many times before. But I had never seen a buckeye with so much light color in the wings. Quite unusual in my experience. One participant offered to take a photo and email it to me. Gotta love those smart phones! And the people who own them!

When I got home, I checked all my field guides, and couldn't figure out what was going on. I then sent it to the experts, asking if this was ordinary variation in the Common Buckeye. They said no, it is a subspecies of the Common Buckeye: Junonia  coenia grisea. I have been watching and rearing butterflies for about 30 years and have never seen one that looks like this before. So it was a very special find. Thanks to all of you who helped with this butterfly.

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