Comma ID help, Virginia

Alan Wormington wormington at
Mon Nov 1 00:11:24 EDT 2010


Your possible Green Comma looks like an ordinary Eastern Comma to me.


Alan Wormington
Leamington, Ontario

On Mon, 5 Dec 1994 13:02:47 -0700 (MST) David Hamilton Cox
<dhcox at> writes:
>  Until a few weeks ago, I assumed that all the Polygonia species 
> that I
> encountered here in Madison County, Virginia, were either the 
> Eastern Comma,
> P. comma, or the Question Mark, P. interrogationis. Then on October 
> 13 I
> saw and photographed what I assume is a Gray Comma, P. progne. This 
> individual caught my eye because it seemed smaller and somehow 
> different,
> and the photos do seem to show a more ragged wing margin, "outer 
> half
> of FW (but not HW) is frosted" ("Butterflies of the East Coast," 
> Cech and
> Tudor), and the "comma" is thin, one "leg" shorter than the other. 
>  So I've been paying more attention to Comma's and on October 17 I 
> photographed two other individuals in the same area as the October 
> 13 Gray
> Comma (Whiteoak Canyon, Shenandoah National Park). I assume that 
> these
> are both P. Comma but would like confirmation, if these photos show 
> enough
> detail to do so.
>  Then, this past Thursday, hiking up the nearby Cedar Run trail, I 
> saw
> another interesting Polygonia, a sluggish individual that let me get
> quite close with my camera, and even pick it up. Above, this one has 
> the
> "innermost black spot on the trailing FW dot row is doubled across 
> the
> vein" (same reference) which made me think it might be a Green 
> Comma, 
> P. faunus, but further study has led me to think it is an Eastern 
> Comma
> that happens to have this variant (the doubled innermost black 
> spot). This
> would be a bit out of range for the Green Comma and the other 
> identifying
> marks seem missing.
>  All these photos: above and below of the Gray Comma, the two 
> Eastern Comma's,
> and the possible Green Comma above and below, can be seen here:
>  I would appreciate any opinions on the identification of these 
> butterflies.
> -David Cox
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