There are a lot of fallen leaves scattered all about my neighborhood and at first I thought this butterfly was merely one of them. Then it opened its wings, revealing its inner beauty. Wow!
I am pretty sure this is a Question Mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis), though there is also a chance that it might be an Eastern Comma butterfly (Polygonia comma). Yes, there are butterflies named after punctuation marks.
How do you tell them apart? Well. there is a little white marking on the wings and if it has a single part, it’s a comma, and if it has two parts, it’s a question mark. My challenge in this case was that the marking was not very distinctive. I looked through a lot of material and photos on the internet and the wing shape and coloration started to push me toward the Question Mark, but I still had questions. I came across a posting by TrekOhio.com that illustrated the differences in the spots on the inner wings and I convinced myself the spots in the second photo look like those of a Question Mark.
Whatever the case, the butterfly’s resemblance to a fallen leaf and its beautiful orange color are reminders to me that autumn is surely here, my favorite time of the year.
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.