Comma (Polygonia c-album)
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2012 photos highlighted in orange. Click on any photo to go to an enlarged picture, or simply scroll down the page.
A very appealing butterfly that seems, at least in the UK, to have become more widespread over the past few decades. It hibernates in foliage where its underside colouring matches dried leaves very well, and the jagged outline or the wings adds to the camouflage. The first brood, the offspring produced by overwintering adults, is known as the form hutchinsoni with a much lighter underside pattern; it is not clear to me why a brood, albeit partially dimorphic, should merit a specific name - this is even more pronounced in the Map (Araschnia levana), but no other species as far as I know .
The second brood, which hibernates as an adult, is much darker. The uppersides of the sexes are quite similar, the female being slightly lighter, but the wings of the female are slightly less jagged.
Its close relative, the rare (at least in France) Southern Comma (P. egea) appears superficially very similar. The main differences are addressed on the egea page.
a typical but quite darkly marked second brood male, taking salts from damp wood chippings, an often-favoured source of salts for males a various species.
|27439||M||a rather dark second brood male.||1330|
a second brood male, a beautiful fresh fiery orange-red. The body shape is just visible below, and does suggest female, though.
a lightly and unusually marked first brood female seen at high altitude.
possibly a female, based on the visible end of the abdomen. It is, however, exceptionally lightly marked, even for a first brood hutchinsoni, and could easily be mistaken for egea, but the wing edges are not sufficiently jagged and the lower margin of the forewing is strongly curved here whereas it is almost straight in egea.
a first brood male.
a first brood female, based on the visible body shape and the less serrated wing edges.
a second brood and again probably a female because of the wing edges. This seems exceptionally dark but I have not seen many c-album at altitude so maybe it is normal at these levels, even though it was flying in company with "normal" c-album.