Polygonia comma

Polygonia comma

The Eastern Comma, Polygonia comma, is a North American butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, subfamily Nymphalinae.

Description

This butterfly is seasonally variable. The upper side of the summer forms hind wings are all black whereas, the winter forms hind wings are reddish-orange. The underside of both forms is striped with dark and light brown. There is a silvery comma mark in the middle of the hindwing in both forms. Its wingspan is 1.8-2.5 inches (4.5-6.4 cm).

Habitat

The Eastern Comma may be spotted in woods near rivers, ponds, marshes, swamps and other water sources.

Nectar Plants

This butterfly seldom visits flowers, but rather feeds on sap, rotting fruit, salts and minerals from puddling, and dung.

Host Plants

False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica), Hops (Humulus), Wood Nettle (Laportea canadensis) American Elm (Ulmus americana) and Nettle (Urtica).

Life Cycle

The green eggs are laid singly or in stacks under host plants leaves and stems. The spiney larva varies in color from pale green to yellow to white and to even black. The solitary larva feeds on leaves at night. Older larvae construct daytime leaf shelters by pulling a single leaf together with silk. The chrysalis is brown and covered with spines. Winter form adults overwinter, some will also migrate south for the winter.

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