Comma or Question Mark?

seedmoneyMay 23, 2012

Photographed yesterday on a 'Triple Crown' Blackberry:

This is my first-ever spotting of an angled butterfly--I'm so thrilled!

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Congratulations!

I'm pretty sure I see the particular extra marking that question marks have that commas lack, so it would be a summer form question mark.

I've raised nearly 20 caterpillars lately, and about 13 or 14 of them have emerged, including one that's "hanging out" in the cage on my porch right now. They're beautiful butterflies and SO easy to raise!

Sherry

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 3:40PM
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seedmoney

Sherry,
You are an awesome butterfly sprouting machine!
Can you elaborate on how you differentiate between these two species? And also tell me on what plant they prefer to lay their eggs?

Regards,
seedmoney

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 3:53PM
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tigerdawn(7)

I was also wondering how to attract more question marks to my yard. I see one every so often and they are gorgeous. Probably one of my favorites.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 4:01PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

It's hard for me to describe it to you, seedmoney, especially since your QM is faded, but question marks have an extra black marking near the tip of their wings that commas don't have. The Kaufman field guide points to it in the pictures, and I imagine other butterfly field guides do also. You'd need to look at the pictures there or maybe there are some on the internet that would show the mark.

In my area, they like hops vines and false nettles/Boehmeria cylindrica. Unfortunately, my hops vines aren't growing this year, they're still pitifully small, but the false nettles are really thriving, big and still growing. False nettles are also the principle host for red admirals here, so they do double duty, making them a great host plant! Question marks are known to also use many other members of the Urticales order in the plant family, like elms, stinging nettles, and pellitory. In many areas, they visit rotting fruit, but they've never visited mine - I just get flies! :(

If you plant whichever of their host plants do best in your area, you'll see them from time to time. Unfortunately, they don't visit flowers like most butterflies, but you'll still see them here and there.

Sherry

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 4:20PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Seedmoney,

See the six dots that form a "v" on the wing? Above the outside wing edge on each v is a dash mark. The Comma has the six spots but no - marks.

If I can't see the ventral wing, I use this for ID.

Sandy

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 6:32PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Sorry, wish there was a delete here. That's five dots for the Comma.

Sandy

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 6:34PM
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larry_gene

Your Triple Crowns are coming along nicely. Mine have started to bloom also.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 11:41PM
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imabirdnut

I have had a ton of Question Marks this spring...more than I've ever seen before! They like my fruit feeder, my rocks I have around my fire pit, the grass, & even my larkspur flowers.



Now that I look at these pictures I'm wondering if this last picture on the larkspur is actually a comma???

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 1:19AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

No, it's got the " - " in the right place to make it a question mark, imabirdnut.

Those white larkspurs are gorgeous!!

Sherry

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 8:12AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Kind of looks like a "brow" on that top dot!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 8:53AM
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imabirdnut

Thanks Sherry & Sandy...I think the commas are also a little smaller than the ?s but the picture on the larkspur wasn't clear.

Seedmoney...I'm not sure what the ?s use here locally for a host plant but they have been in abundance since early spring...but are now missing for the most part. Maybe once the next generation ecloses...I'll see them again!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 12:21PM
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seedmoney

Thanks everybody for your helpful remarks!
I have a bumper crop of False Nettles (Boehmeria cylindrica) that I grow for my Red Admirals, so maybe my Question Mark got word! Here's hoping he tells all his buddies... ;-)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 12:44PM
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