Question Mark, Polygonia  interrogationis

Question Mark

Polygonia interrogationis

Above, the Question Mark is orange with various black spots, including a black horizontal mark on the forewing that is characteristic of this species and is not found in any of the very similar commas. Below, this species may be fairly uniformly colored as in the first photo, or heavily banded with white and dark areas. The characteristic silvery spot in the middle of the hind wing is broken, looking at times very much like a question mark.

Found in a wide variety of habitats, including backyards, parks, and woodland edges, especially along woodland trails.

Overwintering Strategy:   Adult Butterfly

Two flights. The Question Mark is thought to overwinter as an adult, then mate in the spring; the first generation is flying from late June through mid-July. They second generation appears in August and may be seen flying into October.

Caterpillar Host Plants:
American Elm Red Elm, Hackberry, Japanese Hop, Nettles and False Nettles.

The Question Mark is slightly larger than the other “punctuation” butterflies in Wisconsin, but otherwise very similar. This is a very well known butterfly, found throughout Wisconsin, but is fairly uncommon.

Overwintering Strategy

Two-way migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to Central Mexico
Small migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to southern US
Immigrant: Adult migrates into Wisconsin from warmer areas and don't fly south in winter
Adult Butterfly: Hibernates overwinter as an adult butterfly
Eggs: Eggs laid on stems, twigs or foot plants overwinter in diapause
Caterpillar: Caterpillars make nests on the base of plants and hibernate until spring
Chrysalis: Caterpillars shed their last skin, form a chrysalis and enter diapause.

For more information, read: Where Do Butterflies Go In Winter?

Further Information:   

 Design A Butterfly Garden
 Take The Butterfly Quiz
 Monarch Life Cycle
 Butterflies and Moths of North America
 Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Assn (NABA)
 The Butterfly Site

Bees flying footer graphic