We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at ...

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at ...

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on July 23, 2020.

The common buckeye (Junonia coenia) is one of the most common butterflies in the southern U.S., and it can be found year-round in the southernmost parts of its range, including Mexico and parts of Central America.

These small, beautiful butterflies are fairly easy to spot because their life cycle is connected to common prairie plants that thrive in areas disturbed by humans. If you find an open, sunny area with low vegetation, you've found a prime spot for common buckeyes!
Interestingly, the caterpillars of these butterflies have to perform a balancing act when it comes to their diets. The caterpillars prefer to feed on plants that contain compounds called iridoid glycosides; these compounds make the caterpillars taste bad to predators, which helps provide them with a defense. The downside is that those same iridoid glycosides negatively affect the caterpillars' immune response, which makes them more susceptible to parasites. Eaten if you do, parasitized if you don't...

If you'd like to spot a common buckeye, they're on the wing from May through October here in Virginia!

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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