Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spring beauties

Apparently this is the year of the butterfly, and it has taken me a long time to catch one perched long enough to grab my camera. This is I believe, a comma butterfly.

The Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility says:  Although quite variable, this medium-sized (wingspan: 37 to 56 mm) species is usually a dark orange brown with black borders and distinct black spots on the upperside. There are two forms: the winter form is described above; the summer form has almost entirely black hindwings above, often with a violet edging as in the Question Mark (P. interrogationis). The underside in males is mottled in various shades, but females have a relatively even grey-brown or yellow-brown underside. The silver comma-shaped mark has a swollen club at each end.
Range: Widespread in eastern North America, the Eastern Comma is found across eastern and central Canada from St. John's, Newfoundland, to southeastern Saskatchewan. There is one Alberta record, at Turner Valley.

Similar Species: The dark form of comma is frequently confused with the dark form of the Question Mark, but the two can readily be distinguished by the shape of the comma mark on the underside. The pale form is easily confused with the Satyr Comma (P. satyrus), which usually occurs north and west of the Eastern Comma's range. They can be distinguished by the upperside colour, which is orange brown in commaand tawny yellowish brown in satyrus; by the underside pattern, which tends to be mottled in comma but appears to be more longitudinally streaked in satyrus; and by the row of pale submarginal spots on the hindwing upperside, which tend to be separate and surrounded by dark shading in comma, but are larger and tend to run together into a pale band in satyrus.

And this is where you see a lot of the butterflies - on the Dame's rocket and forget me nots... two of my favourite spring flowers. Hope you enjoy your day and spot many butterflies throughout the rest of the spring and summer.


  1. Nice camo on the butterfly, eh? Loved the photo of the Dame's Rockets and forget-me-nots. Wonderful that you have a garden that attracts butterfly species, and a lot of bees, too!

  2. Love my garden Bill - and yes that butterfly is really beautiful and great camo as you said...thanks for the compliments... hope your weekend is a great one...today is a gardening day for me for sure.