Animals

Butterfly – Comma

The comma butterfly, which is often found in forests and gardens in Great Britain, is named for a white mark on the bottom of its wings that resembles a comma.

This butterfly can also be found in other parts of Europe and parts of Asia.

Female comma butterflies often lay their egg on nettle, hops, red currant and elm.

Comma ButterflyTo fool predators, comma caterpillars look like bird droppings. They have black and white markings. These markings change every time the caterpillar molts.

Comma Butterfly Underside, photo by Chris BayleyWhen the caterpillar is fully grown, it spins a chrysalis, which is suspended from a leaf. The chrysalis itself resembles a dead leaf. It is irregularly shaped and brown with gold specks blotches.

Female comma butterflies lay their eggs in April and May. The new generation emerges from its chrysalises in June or July.

Some of these newly emerged butterflies have dark undersides, while others, known as hutchinsoni, have pale undersides.

The hutchinsoni breed and produce another generation, which emerges in August or September. These are all comma butterflies with dark undersides.

Adults feed on thistle and ragwort nectar in the autumn and then hibernate over the winter.