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Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)

Eastern Comma deviantart.net

The Eastern Comma is a butterfly species found in that are known for their stunning adaptations of camouflaging in the barks and dry leaves of trees, as well as wing marks that resemble bird droppings. They are extensively spread throughout their range in the eastern part of North America.

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Genus: Polygonia
  • Scientific Name: Polygonia comma

Description and Identification


Eastern Comma Caterpillar bugguide.net

A matured larva is about 1.2 inches in length, with its head bearing small spine-like projections called ‘scoli’, with a pair of branching spines on the top. The colors might dramatically vary between individuals including hues like white, greenish-brown and black. The spines are also variable starting from all-black to white with black tips.


Eastern Comma Chrysalis c1.staticflickr.com

The color of the chrysalis is also variable. However, all morphs will have a common ventral gold or silver spots. During this stage, the pupa stays attached to a silk pad by the cremaster.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Not present

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the dorsal sides of the primary wings display a brownish-orange color at the base with dark spots all over. The secondary wings have two patterns, with the summer pattern being primarily black, and the winter pattern being orange decorated with black spots. Both the pairs have a dark border with pale spots. When the wings are closed, the ventral sides of the primary wings show one dark spot at the center of each, along with a brown base. The bottom parts of the secondary wings have a central silver to white comma (,)-like mark on each (from which they get their name). The projections of the hind wings are visible from both ends.

Eastern Comma Butterfly Images learnaboutbutterflies.com

Eastern Comma Butterfly Pictures marylandbutterflies.com

Average wingspan: 1¾ – 2½ inches (4.5 – 6.4 cm)

Flight pattern: Fast and haphazard


Eastern Comma Butterfly Eggs donnabrunet.com

Eggs are green in color with the surface bearing a series of ridges arranged vertically.

Quick Facts

Distribution The eastern half of the US, starting from the east side of the Rocky Mountains to southern Canada and the central part of Texas and the Gulf Coast
Habitat Deciduous forests, woods close to rivers, swamps, marshes, and various water bodies
Lifespan of adults Maximum recorded up to 5 months
Host plants All species belonging to the elm and the nettle families
Adult diet Rotting fruits, tree sap

Did You Know?

  • The males of the species can be so aggressive and territorial that, not just other fellow males, they would also chase other insect species, and even birds.

Eastern Comma Butterfly Range gardenswithwings.com

Eastern Comma Butterfly knowledgebase.lookseek.com

Polygonia comma upload.wikimedia.org

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