Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

The comma butterfly is a food generalist belonging to the family Nymphalidae.  Species in the genus are commonly referred to as anglewing butterflies.  

Found in Europe, North Africa and Asia.  These medium-sized butterflies are not migratory, but they are strong fliers, resulting in increased genetic variation.


Comma butterfly on the allotment, 30 March 2019.  Photo by G.

Comma butterflies are identified by their prominent orange and dark brown / black wings.  They can have a greenish coloured body.

To reduce predation, both the larval and adult stages use protective camouflage. 

Larvae are coloured with brown and white specks are sometimes said to look like bird droppings.

During the later stage of development, the larvae develop strong spines along their backs.

They are woodland butterflies, living in open forests with sunshine and moist soil.  Commonly found in country lanes.

They can feed on a variety of host plants, but show a preference for nettles.  They also use elm and willow as food plants in their earlier, caterpillar stages of life.


Comma Butterfly (mid-July 2020)


Comma Butterfly (mid-July 2020)


Comma butterfly underwing (mid-July 2020).

Comma butterfly on the allotment plot, sunning on warm granite stones (20 March 2022) Photo by G