Deciphering Butterflies: Polygonia

Deciphering Butterflies: Anglewings

These three butterflies look a lot like leaves when in rest due to the mottled brown hindwing. They all also look strinkingly similar with the exception of some subtle clues.

    Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)

    On the dorsal forewing the Question Mark has a black “eyebrow” that other anglewings lack. Ventrally, the silver mark on the hindwing is disjointed at the lower terminus, forming a “question mark”.

    Question Mark species page

    Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma)

    Dorsally the forewing lacks the ” eyebrow” present on the Question Mark and has three black spots on the hindwing. On the ventral hindwing the silver marking is curved and continuous, often thickened on each end. The appearance of the ventral hindwing is variable, sometimes mottled, but brownish and not particularly striated.

    Eastern Comma species page

    Gray Comma (Polygonia progne)

    Dorsally the Gray Comma lacks the forewing “eyebrow” of the Question Mark and the third spot on the hindwing of the Eastern Comma. Ventrally the silver mark on the hindwing is straight but kinked in the middle and not thickened at the ends. The ventral hindwing may appear slightly two toned, being darker on the inner half, is less brown (“grayer”) than the Eastern Comma and somewhat striated in appearance.

    Gray Comma species page

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