Green Comma - Polygonia faunus
[From Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002] Forewing 2.0-2.6 cm. Has extremely ragged wing edges; upperside reddish brown with wide dark borders, forewing with inner two costal spots fused or nearly so; upper hindwing border contains yellow submarginal spots. Underside variegated brown, the outer half lighter, with two rows of bluish-green submarginal spots on both fore- and hindwings, center of hindwing with an inconspicuous L- or C-shaped whitish spot or "comma."
One flight in many areas; late July and overwintering to June in the north, overwintering to May in Colorado and Nova Scotia. Two flights; mid-June to mid-August and late August overwintering to April in California and Arizona, late June to mid-August and September overwintering to May in Virginia (Scott 1986). Single brood flies July to September and October and overwinters to following spring (Glassberg 2001), early March to late September then hibernates until following spring in Oregon and Washington (Pyle 2002), adults fly July to fall then overwinter and emerge by following April in British Columbia (Guppy and Shepard 2001).
Best determined by a combinations of very ragged and irregular wing margins, light yellowish submarginal spots contained in the darker upper hindwing margin, and the double row of bluish-green submarginal spots or band on the underwings, and the presence of the small whitish "comma."
Boreal North America south of the tundra, from Alaska to Labrador, south in the west through the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, and in the Rocky Mountains to northern new Mexico, south in the east to the Great Lakes region and northern New England, with an isolated population in the southern Appalachian Mountains (Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001; Opler and Wright 1999). In Montana, throughout the western two-thirds of the state, especially in montane regions (Kohler 1980; Stanford and Opler 1993). Rare to uncommon (Glassberg 2001).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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Wet meadows and other openings in montane coniferous and mixed-woodland forests, riparian woodlands, streamsides, woody gardens (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Glassberg 2001; Guppy and Shepard 2001; Pyle 2002; James and Nunnallee 2011). Reported in Glacier National Park, Montana in mesic and xeric montane meadows and above treeline in alpine terrain (Debinski 1993).
Larval food plants include Alnus, Betula, Populus, Rhododendron, Ribes, Salix, and Vaccinium (Ferris and Brown 1981; Scott 1986; Guppy and Shepard 2001; James and Nunnallee 2011). Adults feed on flower nectar (including Achillea, Arctostaphylos, Aster, Barbarea, Chrysothamnus, Cirsium, Erigeron, Ribes, Rudbeckia, Salix, Solidago, Taraxacum), tree sap, rotting fruit, dung, mud, and carrion (Payne and King 1969; Pyle 2002; Scott 2014).
Females lay eggs singly on the bottoms and tops of host plant leaves, twigs, catkins. Eggs hatch in 4-6 days. L1-L2 instars remain on single leaf to feed. May reach L4 by 16 days after eggs hatch, pupation begins 32 days after hatching, eclosion (adult emergence from pupae) in about another 14 days; diapause (overwinters) as adults (Scott 1986, 1992; James and Nunnallee 2011). Males perch on shrubs or rocks in gullies and valley bottoms in afternoon to await passage of females; hibernating adults usually mate in spring (Scott 1975b, 1986).
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Brock, J.P. and K. Kaufman. 2003. Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, NY 284 pp.
- Ferris, C.D. and F.M. Brown (eds). 1981. Butterflies of the Rocky Mountains. Univ. of Oklahoma Press. Norman. 442 pp.
- Glassberg, J. 2001. Butterflies through Binoculars: A Field Guide to the Butterflies of Western North America. Oxford University Press.
- Guppy, C.S. and J.H. Shepard. 2001. Butterflies of British Columbia: including western Alberta, southern Yukon, the Alaska Panhandle, Washington, northern Oregon, northern Idaho, northwestern Montana. UBC Press (Vancouver, BC) and Royal British Columbia Museum (Victoria, BC). 414 pp.
- James, D.G. and D. Nunnallee. 2011. Life histories of Cascadia butterflies. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press. 447 p.
- Kohler, S. 1980. Checklist of Montana Butterflies (Rhopalocera). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 1-19.
- Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright. 1999. A field guide to western butterflies. Second edition. Peterson Field Guides. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 540 pp.
- Opler, P.A., K. Lotts, and T. Naberhaus, coordinators. 2010. Butterflies and moths of North America. Big Sky Institute, Bozeman, MT. Available at: www.butterfliesandmoths.org (Accessed 15 June 2015).
- Payne, J.A. and E.W. King. 1969. Lepidoptera associated with pig carrion. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 23(3): 191-195.
- Pyle, R.M. 2002. The butterflies of Cascadia: a field guide to all the species of Washington, Oregon, and surrounding territories. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington. 420 pp.
- Scott, J.A. 1975b. Mate-locating behavior of western North American butterflies. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 14:1-40.
- Scott, J.A. 1986. The butterflies of North America: a natural history and field guide. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.
- Scott, J.A. 1992. Hostplant records for butterflies and skippers (mostly from Colorado) 1959-1992, with new life histories and notes on oviposition, immatures, and ecology. Papilio new series #6. 185 p.
- Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of western USA butterflies: including adjacent parts of Canada and Mexico. Unpubl. Report. Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado 275 pp.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Allen, T.J., J.P. Brock, and J. Glassberg. 2005. Caterpillars in the field and garden: a field guide to the butterfly caterpillars of North America. Oxford University Press.
- Caruthers, J.C., and D. Debinski. 2006. Montane meadow butterfly species distributions in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. University of Wyoming National Park Service Research Center Annual Report, 2006. Vol. 30, Art. 14. 85-96.
- Dolan, A.C. 2016. Insects associated with Montana's huckleberry (Ericaceae: Vaccinium globulare) plants and the bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 160 p.
- Layberry, R.A., P.W. Hall, and J.D. LaFontaine. 1998. The Butterflies of Canada. University of Toronto Press. 280 pp. + color plates.
- Scott, J.A. 2014. Lepidoptera of North America 13. Flower visitation by Colorado butterflies (40,615 records) with a review of the literature on pollination of Colorado plants and butterfly attraction (Lepidoptera: Hersperioidea and Papilionoidea). Contributions of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthopod Diversity. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University. 190 p.
- Additional Sources of Information Related to "Insects"