Wow! It’s a Question Mark! No kidding!

OK, I’ve exhausted my exclamation point quota for the day, but on my walk this morning I was surprised to have a new butterfly  flit across my path and land close enough for me to get several quick shots. I was sure I hadn’t seen this one before – and as it turns out, I’ve never heard of it before. In fact, when I read the caption of it in “The Butterfly Book” I thought there was some mistake. It talked about comparing the “question mark” with the “similar comma  pictured below.” Huh? but what were their names?

I felt like I was in a “who’s on first” routine, but careful reading revealed that “question mark” really was the name of one – as was “comma” of another, very similar.  Not only that, they both belonged to a group called “angle wings” – that’s “angle” – not “angel” as I first assumed.  It refers to the many angles along the trailing edge of the wing – angles that are much more pronounced on the smaller comma. So here’s my question mark – polygonia interrogationis.

This first shot shows the distinctive color and pattern of the question mark.

The book says that one distinctive trait of these butterflies is when they land and fold their wings the color goes and they look like a dead leaf – nice disguise.  In fact, they frequently land on the bark of a tree and become nearly invisible. But there’s more to that dull side of the wing – take a look.

You can see where it got it's name if you look very closely at the underside of the back wing! Sort of the literati of butterflies!

They are closely related to other butterflies I’ve seen on Gooseberry, included the American Painted Lady and Buckeye.  I’ll add this to my composite list of Gooseberry butterflies.

Cool – that really made my morning excursion – except when I got home I may have made another discovery. Looking closely at the butterfly pictures I found something in the background I have never seen – and they look a whole lot like Gooseberries! Honestly – I have searched many times for any sign of a gooseberry on Gooseberry Island – well stay tuned. I may have at last found them. But I need to check it out very carefully first.

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