Polygonia interrogationis, Question Mark

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Freshly emerged female

Final instar larva

Chrysalis

Description: Wings are angled with forewing tips and tails on the hindwings. Dorsally, the forewing is orange with black spots. Hindwing is mostly black with a violet edge to the tails. Fall specimens has less black on the hindwing and more pronounced violet color on the rim of the hindwing. Ventrally, the colors vary from mottled brown and orange to gray with a violet sheen (as shown below). There is a silver mark on the ventral hindwing that loks like a comma with a dot under it giving it the name "questionmark".

 

Habitat and Distribution: Wooded habitats of the Eastern United States. They have been seen in Key Largo and on Big Pine Key but likely only as a rare stray

 

Host Plant: several plants including hackberry trees (Celtis sps.)

 

Natural History: We found one specimen of the questionmark on Key Largo on January 1st, 2000 resting on the side of a bait trap baited with fermenting banannas and apples. This species is one that is quite elusive but when bait traps are presented, they show up. It is likely migratory and that is why it shows up in the Keys from time to time. 

 

Freshly emerged female

Question Mark

Freshly emerged adult

Final instar larva

Freshly emerged male

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