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Species Polygonia interrogationis - Question Mark

Question Mark - Polygonia interrogationis Question Mark - Polygonia interrogationis butterfly - Polygonia interrogationis Question Mark? - Polygonia interrogationis Question Mark - Polygonia interrogationis Question Mark - Polygonia interrogationis Question Mark - Polygonia interrogationis bright orange butterfly with dark spots....leaf-like wing edges - Polygonia interrogationis
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Nymphalidae (Brush-footed Butterflies)
Subfamily Nymphalinae (Crescents, Checkerspots, Anglewings, etc.)
Tribe Nymphalini
Genus Polygonia (Commas, Question Mark)
Species interrogationis (Question Mark)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Polygonia interrogationis Fabricius, 1798
Explanation of Names
Common name refers to diagnostic mark on underside of hindwing.
Latin name interrogationis likely refers to interrogation or questioning, for the same character.
Numbers
One of about nine Nearctic species in the genus.
Size
58-76mm (1)
Identification
Caterpillar: variable coloration. Body and spines yellow to black. Eight silver spots on back. (1)

Adult: underside of hindwing has unique silver "question mark" shape. Upper forewing has extra black dash not in the similar Eastern Comma. (2) Upper hindwing of summer form is mostly black with short tails; winter form is orange/black with longer violet tipped tails. (1) Wing are very angular in outline.
Range
Eastern 60% of U.S. and parts of adjacent southern Canada. Central and South Florida excluded. (1)
Habitat
Wooded areas: rivers, swamps, parks. (1)
Season
Winter form in late fall to early spring, summer form in late spring to summer. (1)
Food
Adults take fluids from soil, rotting fruit, feces, carrion. Seldom, if ever, take nectar. Caterpillars feed on nettle, false nettle, elms, hackberry, Japanese hops (1).
Life Cycle
Winter form adults overwinter. (1)
See Also
Eastern Comma--a link below has side-by-side comparison photos of the two species.
Print References
Opler, pp. 261-262 & plates 4, 22 (1)
Internet References
Butterflies of Dallas County, Texas - ventral and dorsal view of pinned adult. Life cylce photos.
Works Cited
1.A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides)
Paul A. Opler, Vichai Malikul, Roger Tory Peterson. 1992. Houghton Mifflin Company.
2.Eastern Comma