Butterfly talk time! This is a common Buckeye (Junonia coenia). Buckeyes like hang out in open areas such as fields, coastal dunes, and meadows. Their wingspan range is 4-6 cm. Adults feed on nectar and occasionally on mud from puddle edges. Sounds strange, but it’s assumedly for salt/other mineral intake purposes.
You may have noticed that a section of this butterfly’s wing seems to be missing, or transparent. If you’ve ever handled a butterfly before, you probably noticed a grainy powder-like residue left on your fingertips or hands. A butterfly’s wings are covered in scales (similar to roof shingles), and believe it or not, that’s the explanation for the powder-like substance left behind. These scales are very important in strengthening and stabilizing the wings. A large loss of scales can be deadly to a butterfly, because the lack of scales leaves the membrane prone to tears. Wing tears will definitely affect a butterfly’s ability to fly. Butterflies are actually tougher than they look, but cautious measures should ALWAYS be practiced.
The best thing to do is not attempt to catch butterflies. You CAN stand still and let them land on you if they choose to!! If you MUST handle a butterfly: gently close its wings together. Using a light but firm touch, hold all four wings together and keep your fingers in one place. It's best to hold the wings at a point close to the butterfly's body, and keep it as still as possible.
Buckeyes, and butterflies in general, are important pollinators and cast a wide ecosystem impact. Happy to report that J. coenia are not currently on the endangered species list!! Let’s help to keep it that way.