Question Mark Polygonia interrogationis (Fabricius, 1798)  

Status:

The Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) is named for the silvery white spot and comma markings on the underside of the hind wings, forming the mark of punctuation (with a little imagination). This species of anglewing (genus Polygonia) occurs in woodlands and gardens throughout the state. Like many other nymphaline butterflies, it overwinters as an adult, ensuring that these hibernators are among the first active butterflies when the warmth of spring finally arrives. This species has two broods, with the overwintering individuals produced at the end of the season paler above than the summer brood.

Description:

This butterfly is similar to the Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma). Compared to that species, the Question Mark has a more sharply-hooked angle to the forewing, and a longer tail on the hindwing, and averages larger. On the forewing, the Question Mark distinctively shows four black spots in the subapical row, while other comma species have only three markings here (Glassberg, 1999).

Relationships:

Uses many host plants. In West Virginia, appears to uses elms (Ulmus spp.) and hackberries (Celtis spp.) most frequently. Also uses nettles (Urtica spp.) and Small-spiked False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) (Allen 1997).

There are 343 records in the project database.

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A Question Mark in Howard Co., Maryland (9/10/2013). Photo by Bonnie Ott. (MBP list)

A Question Mark in Frederick Co., Maryland (9/20/2015). Photo by Bob Cammarata. (MBP list)

A Question Mark in Prince George's Co., Maryland (7/3/2012). Photo by Barbara Thurlow. (MBP list)

A Question Mark in Baltimore Co., Maryland (9/1/2012). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

A Question Mark at Fort Smallwood, Maryland (5/22/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Question mark in Frederick Co., Maryland (9/24/2013). Photo by Richard Orr. (MBP list)

A Question Mark in Howard Co., Maryland (9/14/2014). Photo by Kevin Heffernan. (MBP list)

A Question Mark in Carroll Co., Maryland (7/18/2016). Photo by Barbara Speckart. (MBP list)

A Question Mark in Baltimore Co., Maryland (10/23/2010). Photo by Frode Jacobsen. (MBP list)

A Question Mark at Fort Smallwood, Maryland (5/22/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

A Question Mark in Talbot Co., Maryland (8/4/2016). Photo by Jared Satchell. (MBP list)

A Question Mark caterpillar at Blair's Valley Lake, Washington Co., Maryland (8/30/2008). Photo by Steve Collins. (MBP list)

A Question Mark in Garrett Co., Maryland (8/4/2018). Photo by Bob Cammarata. (MBP list)

A Question Mark in Allegany Co., Maryland (8/26/2016). Photo by Bob Cammarata. (MBP list)

A Question Mark caterpillar in Howard Co., Maryland (9/14/2013). Photo by Bonnie Ott. (MBP list)

A Question Mark caterpillar in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (9/1/2017). Photo by Anthony VanSchoor. (MBP list)

A Question Mark collected in Frederick Co., Maryland (10/5/2001). Photo by Mark Etheridge. (MBP list)

The chrysalis of a Question Mark in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (9/16/2012). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

A Question Mark caterpillar in Howard Co., Maryland (6/21/2019). Photo by Bonnie Ott. (MBP list)


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