When I wrote my last post, Then and Now, I wanted a photograph of a Question Mark butterfly to compare its marking to those of the Eastern Comma. I haven’t noticed any Question Marks this year, and had to dig into the archives to come up with a photo of a Question Mark.
That same afternoon, as I walked through the garden, I encountered … you guessed it… a Question Mark! Not just any Question Mark, either, but a real beauty! Many of the butterflies you encounter in the garden look battle weary, with tattered wings. Some have V-shaped snips missing from their wings, the sign of a close encounter with a hungry bird. This Question Mark was perfect, with a gorgeous silver edging outlining its shining russet wings.
Question Marks (Polygonia interrogationis) have a darker summer form and a lighter, more orangey winter form. This butterfly is a wonderful example of the latter. The underwing is also lighter. You can see the difference if you compare the photograph below to that of the Question Mark pictured in ‘Then and Now’.
Question Marks have two broods in a season. Second-brood adults such as this butterfly hibernate and fly again in the spring. Some Question Marks migrate to warmer regions to overwinter.