Eastern Comma Polygonia comma (Harris, 1842)  Synonyms: Comma.

Status:

Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) is a hardy and widespread butterfly, and often among the first species seen in spring. This butterfly hibernates as an adult, so they can resume activity almost as soon as temperatures start to climb. The orange upperside, with black spots, and the jagged wing margins are distinctive, and shared with just a few related species. This butterfly is particularly fond of rotting fruit, tree sap, and mud. It is usually found in woodland habitats and edges, where its host plants, and preferred food sources, are most common. This species has multiple broods, with summer individuals darker in coloration than overwintering ones

Description:

Eastern Comma is most easily confused with relatives in the genus Polygonia. The larger Question Mark (Pologonia interrogationis) generally has more strongly-hooked forewings, a longer tail on the hindwing, and four subapical spots on the forewing, while commas have just three spots here. The very similar Gray Comma can be difficult to tell from Eastern, but can be discerned by noting certain combinations of characters. On the upperside, Gray Comma is very similar to Eastern, but usually has a darker hindwing (note that summer form Eastern can have similarly dark hindwings). On the underside, under close scrutiny, Gray Comma has a very distinctive, beautifully striated effect,and tends towards colder gray, often bicolored coloration, while Eastern is usually warmer shades of brown, and usually lacks strong striping. The silvery comma marking on Eastern is usually thick, and with strong hooks on both ends, while the marking is normally thin and shallow, with tapered ends on Gray.

Relationships:

In West Virginia, uses nettles (Urtica spp.), Canadian Wood Nettle (Laportea canadensis), Small-spiked False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica), hops, elms (Ulmus spp.), and hackberries (Celtis spp.) as larval hosts (Allen 1997).

There are 296 records in the project database.

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GA AL WA FR CL MO HO BA BC HA CE PG AA CV CH SM KE QA CN TA DOWI SOWO 
A Comma in Baltimore Co., Maryland (03/31/2014). Photo by Frode Jacobsen. (MBP list)

A Comma in Garrett Co., Maryland (7/8/2012). Photo by Matt Tillett. (MBP list)

A Comma in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (10/14/2013). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Comma in Baltimore Co., Maryland (9/10/2014). Photo by Frode Jacobsen. (MBP list)

Comma in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/26/2014). Photo by Frode Jacobsen. (MBP list)

A Comma in Allegany Co., Maryland (6/29/2015). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

A Comma in Howard Co., Maryland (4/18/2014). Photo by Richard Orr. (MBP list)

An Eastern Comma in Garrett Co., Maryland (8/29/2019). Photo by William Blauvelt. (MBP list)

Comma in Garrett Co., Maryland (8/23/2008). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

A Comma in Worcester Co., Maryland (9/30/2013). Photo by Scott Housten. (MBP list)

A Comma in Harford Co., Maryland (6/18/2016). Photo by Bill Keim. (MBP list)

A Comma in Baltimore City, Maryland (6/16/2006). Photo by Thomas Wilson. (MBP list)

An Eastern Comma in Carroll Co., Maryland (9/15/2017). Photo by Frode Jacobsen. (MBP list)

A Comma caterpillar in Garrett Co., Maryland (7/26/2015). Photo by Bob Cammarata. (MBP list)

A Comma caterpillar in Montgomery Co., Maryland (5/6/2010). Photo by Ashley Bradford. (MBP list)

A Comma larva in Montgomery Co., Maryland (10/14/2016). Photo by Steve Scholnick. (MBP list)

An Eastern Comma caterpillar in Harford Co., Maryland (8/26/2017). Photo by Josh Emm. (MBP list)

A Comma caterpillar in Prince George's Co., Maryland (8/31/2014). Photo by Fritz Flohr Reynolds. (MBP list)

An Eastern Comma collected in Frederick Co., Maryland (8/19/2002). Photo by Mark Etheridge. (MBP list)


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