Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Calendar
Upcoming Events

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 BugGuide Gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Species Polygonia faunus - Green Comma - Hodges#4423

Polygonia faunus - Green Comma - Polygonia faunus - female Green Comma - Polygonia faunus Green Comma - Polygonia faunus Green Comma - Polygonia faunus Funky Looking caterpillar - Polygonia faunus Green Comma in New Brunswick - Polygonia faunus Green Comma, Polygonia faunus - Polygonia faunus - male Butterfly - Polygonia faunus
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 faunus (Green Comma - Hodges#4423)
Hodges Number
4423
Other Common Names
Faun
Green Anglewing
Faunus Anglewing
Range
Northern North America, ranging south to California, New Mexico and Georgia in higher mountains.
Habitat
Northern and high mountain woodlands, often associated with broken terrain and near streams.
Season
One generation, with adults overwintering and emerging to lay eggs in spring. The new generation matures in summer to autumn, and overwinters.
Food
Larvae will feed on a wider range of hosts than most other Polygonia species. Most favored seem to be Willows (Salix sp.) and Currants & Gooseberries (Ribes sp.). Other plants recorded include Nettles (Urtica sp.), Hops (Humulus sp.), Alder (Alnus sp.), Birch (Betula sp.), Elm (Ulmus sp.), perhaps most odd - Azalea (Rhododendron sp.), and likely others.
Remarks
Some authors split this into several distinct species based on differences mostly in the color of the underside and where they are found. Generally these are considered as regional variants or subspecies by most authors. You may see names like P. hylas (gray - Rockies), P. rusticus (brown - west), or some other.

On the opposite extreme, some authors have noticed that these are extremely closely similar to the Eurasian species Polygonia c-album (their "Comma"). It is often not possible to tell, just by looking at a specimen, which continent it came from. In fact, they are so close that there is doubt if they are different species, and molecular evidence supports this close connection. In this scenario one wide-ranging species of this type is found all around the boreal regions of the northern hemisphere, and ours in North America would be called a subspecies of P. c-album, because that is the older name.

P. faunus is the only North American species of Polygonia that is this closely similar to another from Eurasia [though some specimens from mid-Eurasia, labeled as P. c-album, look suspiciously like P. comma!].

One distinction of North American populations is that they seem to occur only in cooler regions and produce only one generation per year, and there is no seasonal dimorphism (see Polygonia comma, interrogationis & progne). The Eurasian P. c-album does occur in some milder regions where it produces more than one generation and does have distinct seasonal forms.