Photo by Pete Gilmore

Eastern Comma butterfly got its name from a white comma-shaped marking under its wing. The commas identify it as one of the “anglewing” butterflies. The margins of their wings are highly irregular, colored so that these insects look like pieces of bark or dead leaves when the wings are folded at rest.

Look for these butterflies in the dappled sunlight of woodlands. Adults rarely feed on flower nectar, preferring rotting fruit, animal dung, and tree sap instead. The larvae are ornamented with branched protective spines that may be white, green, or black in color. They feed on elm, hackberry, nettle family and hops.

Another name for this butterfly is hop merchant. It has been said that hop farmers could forecast the market price of hops by the color of the eastern comma’s chrysalis. If the markings were golden, the prices would be high.

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University of Florida Featured Creatures

Nature of New England