Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankfulness Challenge - Caterpillar!!

I found this little buckeye butterfly caterpillar in the ragged remains of my almost-dormant perennial snapdragons today. They love the snaps and verbena bonariensis. Last summer I had several dozen buckeye caterpillars but this summer I didn't see any. However, I could have missed them because I wasn't really looking. I hope this little guy has a parka handy. I'm very thankful that it survived all the transplanting I've done and that there are still leaves on the snapdragon.



Buckeye butterflies (junonia coenia) are native to much of the warmer climates of the United States and can overwinter as a caterpillar, chrysalis, or butterfly. Their host foods include perennial snapdragons (antirrhinum), verebena bonariensis, toadflax (linaria), plantains, and ruellia. With the exception of the plantains, all of their host foods can be found in my garden, but I usually find them in my verbena and snaps.


These perennial snapdragons are champions of heat, drought, and full sun. They form a bushy mound about a foot wide and a foot high. I purchased mine at Plant Delights Nursery since I couldn't find them locally.


Buckeyes are small butterflies that seem to enjoy a wide variety of nectar producing plants. They were quite fond of my annual 'Buddy' gomphrena this summer.

13 comments:

  1. Lwie paszcze to ulubione kwiatki mojej córki. Mam nadzieję, ze gąsienica stanie się pięknym motylem. Pozdrawiam

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  2. What an exciting find! I have buckeye butterflies in my garden but I haven't seen the caterpillars yet. I will have to take a closer look at my snapdragons! They are really cool looking in their pupa and adult form.

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  3. What a tough little guy hanging on so late in the season. Hopefully he finds a nice spot to hide away during the upcoming season.

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  4. I like those perennial snapdragons...heat, drought and full sun. Well, I have all three. 'Buddy' is very pretty, too. You're right that little caterpillar will need his parka. :)

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  5. My perennial snapdragons were great for two seasons, then didn't come back. I miss them, especially now that I know they harbor these neat little caterpillars / butterflies.

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  6. Very cool snapdragons. I went to Plant Delights nursery to look them up as I do love snapdragons but most sure don't like our summers. It's nice to find one that does. Neat butterfly too. I've never seen a buckeye caterpillar.

    Are you planning to go to the blogger get together in May in Asheville since you live kind of close. If so I'd love to meet you and thank you for that sinful fudge recipe.

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  7. That's a sweet discovery! Buckeyes have such beautiful markings. While taking the Master Gardener training I learned that Monarchs like to form their chrysalis on rosemary plants. It was always a mystery to me where they went when they left the milkweed in my garden. Gonna add a rosemary bush next to the butterfly weed in hopes of catching a glimpse of the chrysalis.

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  8. Yes, I have some old buzzards in the garden now also

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  9. There are a couple here and there around here as well, but this year, from my observations, has been kind of a butterfly bust in Tucson. Last year they were everywhere...and the catepillars were everywhere!!! Nice to see some are still around:)

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  10. The buckeyes - along with many other beautiful butterflies, bees, wasps, flies... loved my bluebird aster. Aster laevis 'Bluebird'. Your blog is great.

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  11. Beautiful shots of the caterpillar and butterfly!

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  12. That was a good discovery! The butterfly is really pretty.

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  13. jennifer@threedogsinagarden
    I must try to remember when and if I see this rather scary looking caterpillar with its spiked amour, that it will morph into a beautiful Buckeye butterfly. I don't think this type of butterfly has ever made an appearance in my garden. Perhaps it is time to add snapdragons and verebena bonariensis.

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