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Friday, September 19, 2014

Butterfly Punctuation

Commas vs Question Marks... not a punctuation error most people make after first or second grade, right? However, when it comes to butterflies, there is one spot of a difference. Literally.

Here's an Eastern Comma, picture taken today. The comma is easy to spot. That's not a flaw in the photo, but a silvery curved line on the underside of the wing.

eastern comma butterfly

Here's the Comma, Polygonia comma, from the top.

eastern comma butterfly

And the Question Mark, Polygonia interrogationis, from the top.

question mark butterfly

See the difference? Don't feel bad... it's not obvious until you know what to look for.

eastern comma butterfly

The Comma has three "subapical" spots, and the Question Mark has four. Now you know. Supposedly there is a silvery dot on the underwing in addition to the curved line so that really looks like a question mark too, but I haven't yet gotten a picture of the underside of a Question Mark.

The comma today was sitting very still in the sand and let me take all kinds of pictures. I only wish it would have opened its wings wide, but still I think the pictures are pretty good. I think the funniest thing is its white legs!

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rainfield61 said...

Waiting for clearer pictures of the question mark and the comma.

I am so silly to see them now.


Ann said...

well I certainly wouldn't have ever known the difference between the two. I didn't even notice the white legs until you mentioned them

The Furry Gnome said...

Very helpful - if I ever see one!

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