Eastern Comma Butterfly Lifecycle
The eastern comma butterfly is a North American butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, subfamily Nymphalinae, this butterfly can be identified by its orange-brown color and dark markings along with a large white mark along its back towards its rear end. Their color makes them inconspicuous to predators camouflaging among other plants. These butterflies are common throughout England and Wales, Ireland, and Southern Scotland.
Their natural habitat includes near rivers, woodland edges, gardens, meadows, forest clearing, and sunny areas. The comma butterfly has a short life span and therefore they make the best of it living anywhere from twenty days to about a month.
If you spot this butterfly in your neighborhood and would love for them to visit your garden then here is what you should do to make your garden a habitat attracting them like a magnet.
Plants that attract the eastern comma butterfly
The adult comma butterfly requires a food source in order to attract them to your garden some of these food sources (garden plants) include nectar-producing plants which include knapweed, violets, clovers, and thistle. They also collect nectar in autumn from flowering bramble storing up energy for hibernation. They can also be seen in urban gardens during late summer feeding on fallen fruits such as plums and apples.
Mating habits of the comma butterfly
It’s interesting when you consider how the mating rituals of these butterflies are carried out, during the mating period the female will mate with several males. The reason for this is to ensure that she receives enough sperm to fertilize her eggs, once the time comes for her to lay her eggs she looks for host plants such as stinging nettles, hops, willow, currant, and elm host plants of the comma caterpillars.
The eggs are laid singly or in small groups of 2 or 3 on the upper side edge of the leaves, the eggs are green and spherical but will eventually turn yellow and then grey before hatching. The eggs will hatch in about 5 days.
Identifying the comma caterpillar
The caterpillar is mainly brown and black with a large white marking along its back and towards its rear end, it is also covered in many-branched spikes. Once the caterpillar hatches it begins to consume the leaves of the host plants they were laid on, they remain at this stage which is also larval for 3 to 4 weeks.
The chrysalis or pupa stage
The pupa stage lasts from 7 to 18 days, during this time the chrysalis hangs upside from trees mimicking dead foliage. The colors are green and pinkish-brown with gold and silver spots.
After 2 weeks period passes a beautiful butterfly emerges to repeat its short but exciting cycle again that lasts from 20 days to about a month. This journey is short but at least they live long enough to enjoy their time here impacting our ecosystem before they pass on.
The final word on the eastern comma butterfly
Attracting the eastern comma butterfly to your garden is that simple, help them along their short journey as you create a habitat that will attract them like a magnet. You will be so happy with the results as your garden becomes a wildlife garden, what a great way to give nature a helping hand, and the rewards will be to see the complete lifecycle of these butterflies from your home garden which in my opinion is so cool.