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Question Mark - Polygonia interrogationis

Question Mark - Polygonia interrogationis
Austin, Travis County, Texas, USA
July 16, 2007
This differs from a question mark in my guide in some respects, but it's no closer to anything else.

Images of this individual: tag all
Question Mark - Polygonia interrogationis Question Mark - Polygonia interrogationis



Moved from Butterflies.

Question Mark
It is a Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis). In Austin, you only have two choices: Question Mark and Eastern Comma (which is rare). You can clearly see the double spot on the outer part of the upper forewing on your bug that IDs it as a Question Mark.

Can you be more specific abou
Can you be more specific about the spots you're speaking of? I think you're talking about the dark spots on either side of the second main rib. These appear on my guide's illustration of a question mark but not the eastern comma. Also according to my guide, the silver question mark shape is diagnostic, but this one has a comma shape. So we have a contradition. Also, the shape of the margin of the wings is more similar to a question mark, but I realize this changes with season.

The guide also points to an extra dark spot on the dorsal side of the forewing on the question mark, but the wings are not open enough in my picture to see this detail. The guide further states that the eastern comma has a single comma shaped silver spot that is swollen at both ends. This is what I see on my picture.

Let's see...
...if I can figure out how to point out the right spots. I'm not very good with wing venation yet. Follow the leading edge of the forewing out from the base of the wing. First you encounter two smallish black spots, then a large black spot. Just down and right from this large black spot are two more smaller black spots. These two spots are the ones that distinguish Question Mark from Eastern Comma. The Question Mark has the top spot, while the Eastern Comma does not. I hope that made sense...

As for the silver punctuation mark, I think the angle of the photo might be a bit deceiving. The gap between the dot and the comma seems to appear closed, creating a swollen-tipped comma only. I think this is because the gap is so small that it appears closed at this angle. But that's just a theory. Having the comma and the spot merge is likely within variation for a Question Mark, too.

Great description
That was very good. In MN and WI I've also seen E. Commas that have the comma slightly separated, but they have all been a lot more colorful underneath. I've also photographed a Q. Mark that had almost no marking underneath at all. It looked like part of the Alder. Nice photos and descriptions, too.
- Mo

That was very clear, thank yo
That was very clear, thank you. I have other pictures that may be better for the question mark shape, but if you think the other spots are diagnostic enough, I'll take your word for it. My original post was because of the apparent contradiction I saw. Thanks again.

Question Mark?
Do a search here for Genus Polygonia. That's as far as I go. 8-) Maybe you can determine the species from that info.


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