Appearance''Polygonia c-album'' has a wingspan of about 45 millimetres . The underside of the wings of this butterfly are a dull brown colour, with a small white 'C' shaped marking resembling a comma . The wings have a distinctive ragged edge, apparently a cryptic form as the butterfly resembles a fallen leaf.
These butterflies hibernate, so they could be seen all around the year, but the active flying period extends from April to November, depending on location. Adults feed on nectar, mainly of Thistles , but also on Bramble , Ivy , Knapweeds , and Privet .
Females lay up to 275 green eggs, which turn yellow and ultimately grey before hatching. The caterpillars are also cryptic. They are black and white, resembling a bird dropping. In the U.K the larvae feed on Hop , Common Nettle , Elm , and Blackcurrant ; in other parts of its distribution it also feeds on Sallow , ''Corylus avellana'' and Birch .
The species survives the winter in the adult stage, and adults are of two forms. The form that overwinters before reproducing has dark undersides of the wings, resembling a dead leaf, a perfect camouflage throughout the winter. The majority of the offspring have this dark form.
The form that develops directly to sexual maturity has lighter coloured wing undersides. Both forms can arise from eggs laid by the same female, depending mainly on the photoperiods experienced by the larvae, but also with an influence of host plants, temperature, and sex of individuals.
Naming*''P. c. c-album'' Europe
⤷ ''P. c. imperfecta'' North Africa
⤷ ''P. c. extensa'' West China, Central China
⤷ ''P. c. kultukensis'' Kleinschmidt, 1929 Transbaikalia
⤷ ''P. c. hamigera'' Ussuri
⤷ ''P. c. koreana'' Bryk, 1946 Korea
⤷ ''P. c. sachalinensis'' Matsumura, 1915 Sakhalin
⤷ ''P. c. asakurai'' Taiwan
⤷ ''P. c. agnicula'' Nepal
Distribution''Polygonia c-album'' ranges across Europe and temperate Asia to Japan and south to Morocco. Similar species are found in the United States and Canada.
HabitatThis species prefers open woodland, wood edges, country lanes and gardens.
EvolutionIn the 19th century, the British population of the Comma crashed; the cause for this decline is unknown, but from about 1930 the population recovered and the Comma is now one of the more familiar butterflies in Southern England, and is also resident in Scotland and in North Wales.
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