Eastern Comma, Polygonia comma

Eastern Comma

Polygonia comma

Above, this species is very similar to the other commas, with a lot of orange, dark wing margins, and various black spots. The forewing dot closest to the trailing edge often has a noticeable faint dot just above it; this dot is occasionally very obvious. There is also a distinct dark spot in the middle of the hindwing. Below, this species is usually heavily banded with light and dark regions (but sometimes is nearly uniform in color like the Question Mark). It has a very prominent comma that most typically has barbs on both ends

A woodland species that is most often seen along woodland edges and trails.

Overwintering Strategy:   Adult Butterfly

Two broods, very similarly timed to the broods of the Question Mark. I often see this species come out of hibernation on warm days in late March and in early April. The summer brood is present from late June through July while the winter brood usually flies in August through October.

Caterpillar Host Plants:
All members of the elm and nettle families including American elm, Hops, Nettle, False Nettle and Wood Nettle.

The Eastern Comma is the most common of the commas and is found throughout the state. Adults of this species hibernate and appear on warm sunny days in the early spring, even when there is still snow present.

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

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