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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

23 June, 2010

Comma (Polygonia c-album)

Despite the lovely weather of late our garden has not seen a flurry of butterflies. Indeed, a Comma today is the first one we have had for some days.

The Comma always causes a bit of excitement at first as it is somewhat like a fritillary and to have a fritillary of any description in the garden would be immense! That said, the Comma is such a lovely colour it is always welcome.

Commas can actually be seen from January to December depending on the weather. They over winter by hibernating as adults and can emerge on any day in winter if the weather is encouraging. These insects that have hibernated lay egg in April and May and these then form the first brood and these are laying eggs that hatch around July/August to provide the second brood. The second brood are the insects that will then hibernate until the following spring.

The Comma's food plant is primarily the Common Nettle but it also found on all sorts of shrubs and trees,

Apart from gardens, you can encounter the Comma almost anywhere as it favours open areas as well as woodland edges.

Once uncommon the Comma has done well in recent years and is now seen across the whole county quite frequently.