Comma Butterflies

Comma Butterflys at Raccoon Creek State Park

August and 3 Comma butterflies have settled on a workable arrangement for all to share scat set on the Nichol Road trail at Raccoon Creek State Park.

Preferring to be at woods edge, this section of trail is ideal Comma habitat, with a small stream running just 15 feet from this spot.

The Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) on the left bears the browns and consistent markings that are pretty reliable. The Comma on the right I identify as a Gray Comma (Polygonia progne). Agreed?

Commas keep you company along certain stretches of trail. They much prefer shade to direct sunlight. Very, very rarely do you see them fly to flowers.

Commas are vividly colored when ‘fresh’ and wear over the weeks that they fly. They are examples of the species of butterflies that like puppies, exude ‘personality.’

Difficult to photograph, as we’ve noted before, our subjects here were so fixed on their purpose that they allowed my belly to the ground slow approach. The things I do for a good shot!


Eastern Comma Butterfly

Gray comma butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

It’s a HOT! morning at Raccoon Creek State Park. July 2nd and this Eastern Comma butterfly (Polygonia comma) is patiently sipping a cool cocktail of trail moisture and minerals.

Meals feature scat (horses, raccoons, weasels, coyotes), tree sap drips and ripened fruit dropped from trees and shrubs. I can’t recall ever having seen a comma nectaring on flowers?

The ‘Comma’ in Eastern Comma? Examine the photo. Where is the marking that resembles a comma? Yes, you’ve found it.

You’ll find them on sunny morning along trails that are kept moist. Trails near streams and other moving water.

If you are like me and you favor the color brown, they are a treat to see with their waves of browns.

If you love Nature…Eastern Comma Butterflies are a treat because they are different…and remind us that there is more diversity out there and …we may never know it all.


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?