Gray Comma Butterfly

Gray comma butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Sophisticated dots, splashes, chevrons, and oh so much more in this common butterfly of the forest edge. Our state parks, county parks and U.S. refuges and parks all maintain cut paths that meander around forest edges. This is the chosen habitat of this butterfly, the Gray Comma (,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,comma?).

A speedster, it another of those butterflies that will allow you to approach within 15 feet and will then fly 20 feet away. When you reappraoch, this routine is repeated. After 2 or 3 more episodes, it’ll fly up into a tree and 5 minutes later it’s back to where it started. Whew!

This one was sunning itself on a leaf at 8:50 A.M., raising its body temperature to the optimum for flight. And its a fast one.

Why has it been named a Comma? Each of the forewings has a whitish mark (below) that reasonably resembles………you guessed it…..a comma!

I cannot recall ever having seen one nectaring on a flower. If they don’t drink nectar, how do they get their nutrition?