Friday, 25 September 2015

Day 316 - Cracking and Beautiful Comma Butterflies

Comma (Polygonia c-album)
Basking on the path at Nosterfield
Hey everyone, today's Day 316 and I today's post is one that I would consider to be a small rarity. I hardly see any of these. In fact, the only places I have ever seen them is on my windowsill (outside of course) and the lovely local nature reserve of Nosterfield LNR. You will all know that I love to go to this amazing reserve quite often. I even volunteered there at the open day they had.

Now, you will know that I did a moth trapping 'exercise' there at that particular Open Day. But today's post isn't one I found in the trap, it wasn't even a moth. But what it was, was a butterfly, and a very pretty one at that. It's the cracking Comma butterfly.

So, here are the facts:

  • Firstly, when I looked on Google to find some fact sites, I found out its Latin name is  'Polygonia c-album'. I've not seen a Latin name like this before!
It hung around for quite a while
  • I have seen on UK Butterflies that their species is 'c-album', their sub-species is 'c-album' and their form is 'c-album'. 
  • This is incredibly confusing and I cannot figure out what it means. I have been all over the Internet and I haven't been able to work it out. If anybody knows what, please 'tweet' me!
  • It seems that they are not a rarity at all. I looked at a map of sightings on NatureSpot and they have been seen almost everywhere in the UK, apart from Ireland.
  • They are found widely and commonly in the South of Britain and they get less common the further North that you go.
  • A couple must have got lost along the way and ended up at the Isle of Man and the Shetlands & Orkneys.
It looked like it was eating something in the gravel
  • Only around a century ago, these lovely butterflies were almost extinct in Britain. Nobody knows why the decline happened but Southern UK sightings were reduced to just one or two.
  • It wasn't until about the 1930's that numbers started to increase. Today, the Comma is a familiar sight in Britain. This could be due to climate change and that the UK is a better environment for them now.
  • I have talked about their Scientific name a lot but nothing about the English name. Well, it's probably from the markings that there is on the underside of their wings that look sort of like commas. ,,,
  • They have a wingspan of about 4 and a half cm while the caterpillar is only about 3.5 cm long!
Trying to look like a leaf on the path?
  • Their caterpillars like nettles and hops to eat and the adults feed on flowers like thistle and knapweed. In the Autumn they will feed on ripe blackberries and fallen fruits.
  • You may see these butterflies at any point in the year, they sometimes wake up on warm winter days, but they properly emerge from hibernation in March.
  • When they rest on a tree with their wings closed the 'tatty' edges of the wings help to disguise them as a leaf.

Here are a few links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. Stunning butterflies, the colours are so pretty! - Tasha