Early UK sightings

Dr. James Adams jadams at carpet.dalton.peachnet.edu
Wed Jan 21 09:29:11 EST 1998

Dear all,

      In response to Simon Coombes asking about lack of overwintering Commas 
flying about, Martin Hough wrote:

> All the other sightings hibernate as adults. I didn't think the Comma =
> did so- am I wrong?

In the U.S., members of the genus Polygonia do indeed overwinter as 
adults.  Sunny 55 to 60 degree F weather in the winter will bring 
adults out, and sometimes they can be seen in numbers in the right 
places.  I remember very clearly an incident from my childhood that 
involved P. interrogationis.  I was helping my father stabilize some 
strings of Christmas lights around the eaves in extremely cold weather 
(-1 degree F) one night and found a Question Mark hanging on the 
gutter, completely immobile (as you might guess).  Thinking it was 
probably dead, I brought it inside.  In about twenty minutes it was 
up and flying around the house.  I actually kept it alive for a 
couple of days, feeding it some sugar water, and released it when the 
temperature had warmed enough so that it could at least find another 
sheltered place to "hibernate".  Amazing stuff, that natural 


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