Monday, April 27, 2009
Eastern Comma Butterfly
The Eastern Comma butterfly is found throughout Eastern North America. They are common in their range and are found in deciduous woodland and nearby edges. They can also be found near water such as wetland, marshes and swamps. This one was near some scrub timber we have on our property. I spotted it while we were mushroom hunting. Fortunately I had my camera with me as I've been trying for 2 years to get a picture of this species. They rarely sit still long enough to allow for a good photo. The adults of this species overwinter and come out of hiding in the spring and begin egg laying. I believe this one pictured is a male that was perching waiting for a female. This color form is the winter form. The summer form will have black hindwings. The females will lay eggs singly on elm or nettles. The young caterpillars feed at night and hide during the day in a self-constructed nest made of leaves and silk. These caterpillars will form cocoons and emerge as the summer form of adults sometime in June. These adults will mate and lay eggs sometime in late summer. These caterpillars will hatch and the adults emerge in September or October. This will be the winter form that will overwinter and hibernate until spring. These are small, but gorgeous butterflies. Long ago the pupae of these butterflies were used to determine the market value of Hops. If the pupae was gold the prices were higher, if silver the prices were lower.