Green Comma

Polygonia faunus

The Green Comma is found only in the northern counties of Wisconsin. It is called a Green Comma because of the greenish submarginal bands on the underwings. In Butterflies of Wisconsin, Ebner wrote that this is the “best distinguishing characteristic” for identifying this species. But it is difficult to notice the greenish color in photos of this species without already knowing that they are Green Commas, so this may be a useful identifying characteristic only for pinned specimens.

Weekly sightings for Green Comma

Identifying characteristics

Very similar to the other commas in the state. Above, the Green Comma has somewhat more jagged edges, the black margins of the wings are more distinct, a prominent yellow spot band on the hindwing, and usually a dark spot above the spot closest to the trailing edge of the forewing. Below, the comma is thick and often clubbed or hooked at one end and has greenish bands of spots near the margins of the wings. Females are variable below and may be more uniform colored, as noted in Nielsen’s Michigan Butterflies & Skippers.

Similar species

Above, this species is similar to the Eastern and Gray Commas, but has very jagged wing margins and is more boldly marked with black including an often prominent black dot just above the dot nearest the trailing edge of the upper wing, a dot that is lacking or faint in the Eastern Comma and Gray Comma. The Satyr Comma has this black spot also, but does not have a row of yellow spots on the hindwing.

Below, the Green Comma is difficult to distinguish from the other commas, especially in overwintered, worn spring butterflies, where the bands of greenish spots near the wing margins are difficult to see. It is best to see both the upper and lower wings to identify this species.

Habitat

More confined to woodlands than the other commas. This species is found in boreal forest habitats, and is most often seen sunning itself along woodland trails.

Flight

One brood. This species overwinters as an adult, flies and mates in the spring, and then fresh butterflies are seen in late July through September, when they hibernate for the winter.

Abundance

Uncommon in Wisconsin, even in the northern counties where it occurs.

Late Green Comma Sightings

Date County Reported by
Aug 6, 2009 Douglas Ann Thering
Aug 12, 2017 Bayfield Scott and Ann Swengel
Aug 15, 2014 Bayfield Dan Sonnenberg
Aug 18, 2013 Bayfield Dan Sonnenberg
Sep 12, 2010 Bayfield Ryan Brady

Locations

Map showing sighting locations for Green Comma
Map key
Green CommaClick to enlarge

Tie Mill Rd., Florence Co., WI. July 20, 2011.

Green CommaClick to enlarge

Forest Rd. 183 between Clam Lake and Mellen, Ashland Co., WI. July 26, 2011.

Green CommaClick to enlarge

County A, Douglas Co., WI. July 29, 2011.

Green CommaClick to enlarge

Tie Mill Rd., Florence Co., WI. July 20, 2011.

Green CommaClick to enlarge

Grandma Lake Rd., Florence Co., WI. April 5, 2010.