Medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan to 2-3/4 inches. The upperside is brown; the underside of the hindwing is brown or tan in the summer form and reddish-brown in the winter form. The forewing has two orange bars and a large eyespot touched by or within a broad, creamy-white postmedian band. The inner edge of the eyespot also is creamy white. The hindwing has two large eyespots and a broad orange bar along the lower margin. Females usually are larger than males. The caterpillar is black with white or orange stripes, metallic bluish-black spines, and orange or black legs; the top of the head is orange. The chrysalis is light brown with dark markings.
North America, West Indies, Central America, South America
Coastal areas, tidal flats, and black-mangrove swamps.
Caterpillars feed on leaves of host plants. Larval host plants include the native Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans). Nectar sources include the native Blue porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis).
The taxonomy of the butterflies in the genus Junonia has been uncertain for many years. The species of Junonia are known to hybridize, making identification challenging. The presence of the host plant for a particular species may be helpful, but should not be used to confirm the presence of that species. Based on recent molecular and morphological analysis by Lalonde (2016), the tropical buckeye (formerly Junonia genoveva) has been reassigned as Junonia zonalis, following Felder and Felder (1867) and the mangrove buckeye (formerly Junonia evarete) has been reassigned as Junonia nieldi, following Brevignon (2004). The name Junonia genoveva is now restricted to a South American species. For more information, visit Butterflies and Moths of North America and Butterflies of Cuba.