Great, Bryan...and thanks...

Hey, good luck with that BOG ELFIN. WHY this bug has never turned up in VT is really a mystery.


From: Vermont Butterfly Survey <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Bryan Pfeiffer <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 5:56 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eastern Comma vs Green Comma
Dear VTLEPsters:

This is a great conversation. And thanks to Alex for the illumination. Within the next couple of weeks, I intend to produce a visual guide to the DORSAL identification of Polygonia (anglewings). Some of the long-timers here in Vermont might recall a presentation on this subject I once gave during the Vermont Butterfly Survey. (If only I could now put my hands on that presentation.) I've already got photos of most North American species. But I might be seeking a few other images from among you. Stay tuned!


On 4/19/16 8:54 AM, Alex Grkovich wrote:

Well, first of all, I think it is incumbent on all of us to learn the Field Marks ourselves; that is probably the best thing…….especially when dealing with more or less difficult to ID species…….A good source of info to study in this regard would be the Butterflies of America website:
Note: This website is a constant work in progress. We try our best to provide the most accurate information, however, errors inevitably creep in and are the ...


and go to INTERACTIVE LIST where you can see and compare good photos of specimens…


But here, in terms of Eastern Comma vs Green Comma – when views of undersides are not available (as was the case in the photos of Gray Commas late last month), a few useful Field Marks are probably as follows:


Green Comma has noticeably more “jagged” and uneven wing margins that Eastern Comma, and also has the orange areas more two-toned between orange and yellow. For example, this can be seen in the submarginal lunules of the FW and the submarginal lighter spots inside the darker border of the HW. The subapical area, between the two dark areas of the FW is also yellow in Green Comma but orange in Eastern Comma. The Eastern Comma – especially the winter form – has prominent violet(-gray) margins that is lacking in the Green Comma. The Green Comma also has more pronounced black markings on the FW and is overall darker than is the Eastern.


Again, and this is the same for Eastern vs Gray Comma: The Green Comma has an overall different “look” to it than the Eastern Comma. And you can also say that each of the more “Northern” Commas – the Gray, Green and Hoary Commas – all have a different “look” to them compared to that of the more “southern” Eastern Comma. And then, each of these three also have different “looks” in comparison to each other.


I mentioned before when we were discussing the Gray Commas, that even the shape (character) of that largest black bar at the end of the FW cell (as well as ALL of the black FW spots) can be important in determining a Gray vs Eastern or Green Comma, and probably also a Hoary Comma. These characters are all part of the overall “look” of a species. As I also mentioned, the character of the large cell-end black bar has at times been useful to me at the Scott Bog in northern NH where that form of the Green Comma female (silvius, I believe it is called) which has a dark brownish-gray underside with essentially no green, in trying to ID this as a Green and not a Gray Comma. So again, one needs to simply LEARN them, I would suggest.


Also, when any of these specimens are more worn (this Green Comma is rather surprisingly in good condition for a hibernator) then the overall “look” becomes even more important as individual Field Marks may be more difficult to determine.




From: Vermont Butterfly Survey [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Stewarts
Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 8:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eastern Comma


I asked this question earlier -what are those field marks that distinguishes this Green from the Eastern???  HELP!

A couple of whites through the yd today, but neither stopped long enough to get a positive ID. What I did notice in flight were dark edges on the wings???   Would both W VA and Cabbage be flying at this time?  No toothwort in sight and open yard.   Glimpsed a dark butterfly too - but noooooo ideas on that one!   

On 4/18/2016 6:51 PM, Alex Grkovich wrote:

The more that I look at this, the more I believe this to be a Green Comma. Look at the Field Marks.....absolutely not an Eastern Comma.




From: Vermont Butterfly Survey <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Alex Grkovich <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 4:35 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eastern Comma


That actually looks more like a Green Comma (???) at least from above...




From: Vermont Butterfly Survey <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Roy Pilcher <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, April 18, 2016 2:53 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Eastern Comma


A nice surprise and beginning for the season!

Comma, Eastern #07a, Wildcat Road,
                            Chittenden, VT, 2016-04-18.jpg[log in to unmask]">

Comma, Eastern #07b, Wildcat Road,
                            Chittenden, VT, 2016-04-18.jpg[log in to unmask]">


Cheers, Roy Pilcher



Field Naturalist and Ecological Planning Programs
333 Jeffords Hall, 63 Carrigan Drive
University of Vermont
Burlington, VT 05405