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Friday, 3 April 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies - C

C - Comma

A comma  is a punctuation mark, but it is also a butterfly in the Nymphalidae family.


                                       Caress
                                       Of a
                                       Moon-shaped
                                       Mark
                                       A pause

(Acrostic poem; Liana Mahoney  - Commashavewings.com)

When I came across this dead butterfly on my garden path last summer I had no idea what it was.


Dead Comma
It had definitely come to a full stop!

Not at all like a living specimen.

Comma butterfly at rest
Its tattered looking wings help it to remain undetected among dead leaves on the trees where it hibernates. The white comma marks on the underside of its wings give the Comma its name.

Comma butterfly - underside
As you can see the underside is dull in comparison with the upper side. This disguise enables it to hibernate safely as with its wings folded it looks like a dead leaf on the trees where it hibernates.

The population declined at one time due to a reduction in hop farming but has recovered since the 1960s with a preference for the common nettle as the larval food plant. It's now found throughout England and Wales; its range has also reached Scotland.

Eggs (on a nettle leaf?)
The caterpillars are brown and white and spiky; they feed on nettles (and hops) for about seven weeks before pupating.

Comma caterpillar
What a shame that I have cleared out all the nettles from my garden. I have no chance to see the caterpillar and must hope that I get to see adult butterflies in the countryside feeding on thistles, brambles, ivy or knapweed.


Love is like a butterfly

As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside


Photo Attributions:
  • Comma at rest: By P matthews 123 - CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Comma underside: 7 July 2011, Zeynel Cebici - CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Eggs: 6 July 2009, Giles San Martin - CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Larva (caterpillar): Jan 1 2006, Lilly M - CC BY-SA 2.0





6 comments:

Li said...

That was interesting! I too have cleared all of the nettles from my property. But I left the end of my yard fairly wild and planted some wildflowers, so that butterflies would have a place to congregate. I've always been to lazy to actual photograph or identify them. Now I feel like maybe I should!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob - I might have seen a Comma yesterday - but it was flying away from me in a horizontal line - so I couldn't see it too well. Love the photos and the story .. I'm surprised you didn't keep one or two nettles for the wildlife ... I'm sure they are out there ... beautiful Comma though and yes poor old chap a dead stop.

The caterpillar is pretty amazing to look - lots of eyes along its length!!

Cheers Hilary

megzone said...

ooohhh!! i just love butterflies - one of the things i loved about parks, spring and blooms!! i may have seen these but i am jus so bad with the specie names! :s so thank you for introducing me to this one :D

Jo said...

Hm, don't much like caterpillars although I know without one you can't have the other. I didn't know there were so many different butterflies anywhere, let alone in England. This is proving very educational.

Wendy said...

Funny how the Comma got its name. I guess it just as easily could have been The Apostrophe. But Comma is easier to spell.

alberta ross said...

have a mob of nettles in front and back but no commas - shame I would like a couple of these:)