Cumbrian Comma

A warm early Autumn day found us on a quiet woodland walk.  We came across a wild rose bush festooned with rose hips.  It was also covered in butterflies enjoying the sugar from the hips as they split open to release their seeds.  Whilst the majority of the butterflies were Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta), we did also spot a pair of Commas (Polygonia c-album) and managed to photograph them whilst perching.  The Comma typically emerges in March to April and the brood emerges in June and July.  There are two forms and the hutchinsoni form will, if the weather is suitably warm, have a second brood which emerges in August and September.  The hutchinsoni form has more brightly coloured upper wings with paler underwings, though has the distinctive white comma mark on the underwing as with all of this species – hence the name.  The butterfly in the image is a male, as identified by its more deeply indented, serrated wing edges and stronger markings.

If you are interested in discovering and understanding the nature on your doorstep, but would like some guidance and support, Steve will be very pleased to help.  He runs all manner of natural history and environmental days and walks on demand as required.  Get in touch to chat about your needs on 07796 213817 and at