Thursday, July 23, 2009
Question Mark (Polygonis interrogationis) Butterflies are a medium sized butterfly measuring up to 3 inches. They are found throughout the Eastern 2/3 of the United States, except for central and south Florida, they are also found in South Eastern Canada. Their coloring varies by season, but will always be shades of reddish-orange and black. On the underside of the hindwing they have a white or silvery "Question Mark" from whence they get their name. It is visible in the second picture. They are attracted to parks, gardens, wooded areas and swamps, where they typically feed on sap, dung, and rotting fruit. Or in the case of this one, hummingbird nectar. The host plant for the offspring is nettles, false nettle, hackberry and elm. There are two other species of butterflies in Missouri, the Eastern Comma and the Gray Comma that are very similar in their markings. The question mark butterfly has an extra black dash on the forewing that the Comma does not have. The Eastern Comma and the Gray Comma both have comma shapes on their underside of their hindwings. These are very pretty butterflies and I see them quite frequently in timber clearings.