Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Also known an the Anglewing Butterfly
Question mark butterflies (Polygonia interrogationis) get their name from their wings. The forewings of question mark butterflies are hooked
Adult males will sit during the afternoon hours on tree trunks or leaves waiting for females. They will, however, leave their perches to chase other insects and even birds.
Females will lay eggs alone, or stacked, on the leaves of plants. These are not always the caterpillar's host plants. When the caterpillars appear, they must find a host plant to feed on.
Caterpillar host plants include American and red elms; hackberry; hops; and nettles. Upon maturity, adult question mark butterflies will feed on rotting fruit, tree sap, carrion, and animal waste. Only if these are unavailable do they feed on milkweed and asters.
Some adults will stay in the northern United States to hibernate, while others will migrate south.
*There are twenty known subspecies of the Anglewing (Comma / Question Mark) butterfly famiily.
* The two best ways to differentiate Question Mark butterflies from Comma butterflies are to:
1) count the black lateral dots on the dorsal side of the wing. The Question Mark will have 4 dots, whereas the Comma will only have 3 dots.
2) look at the white "C" on the ventral side of the hind wings. If it has a white dot with it, it is a Question Mark. If it doesn't have a white dot, it is a Comma.
Otherwise, their appearances are virtually identical !!
Avg. Wingspan: 5.2 - 6.4 cm / 2 - 2.5 "
Diet: adults prefer rotting fruit, sap, dung and carrion. Only when these are not available do Question Marks go to flowers for nectar.
Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta, Order: Lepidoptera