Polygonia faunus smythi Clark, 1937
Smyth's Green Comma
NatureServe Global Rank: G5T3
Virginia State Rank: S1S3
VA DGIF Tier: None
Federal Legal Status: None
Virginia Legal Status: None
Description: The Green Comma is a medium-sized butterfly that has very jagged, scalloped wing edges. The dorsal side has a combination of brown and orange coloration with the brown becoming more dominant towards the outer edges of the wings. The ventral side looks similar to tree bark and has a silver comma-shaped marking on the hind wing as well as jagged, green markings toward the outside edges of the wings.
Similar species: The Green Comma is similar in appearance and behavior to a few other (Polygonia species. While there are differences in the dorsal markings, the ventral side offers the clearest distinguishing characters. The Green Comma is generally smaller than the Question Mark (P. interrogens) and has much more jagged wing edges. The Green Comma is similar in size to the Eastern Comma (P. comma) and the Gray Comma (P. progne), but again has much more jagged wing edges. The Green Comma is the only of the three to possess the green markings on the outer edges of the ventral wings. Otherwise, the Eastern Comma is more pink or orange toned and the Gray Comma is more gray-black toned on the ventral side.
North American Range: Canada south to the mountainous regions in the west, also New England and isolated populations in the higher elevations of the southern Appalachians.
VA Observations by Locality: Augusta | Giles | Grayson | Highland | Montgomery | Smyth | Washington | Bath | Giles | Highland | Montgomery | Scott | Montgomery
Flight season and broods: The Green Comma is single brooded but long-lived. They emerge between late June and August and fly well into the Fall. Adults over-winter and emerge in the Spring to reproduce.
Habitat and Food Plants: The Green Comma is a northern forest inhabitant, usually a mixture of conifers and hardwoods. It hosts on a few different trees, mainly Birches (Betula), Willows (Salix) and Alders (Alder). Most often seen on dirt roads and trails.
Behavior and Ecology: Males perch on or near to the ground awaiting females and may emit a 'clicking' noise while flying. The flight is slower than the other Angelwing (Polygonia) species. They may aestivate during the heat of summer and over-winter as adults.
Population trend and potential threats: Considered common in the main part of its range, it is much less so in the isolated populations of the southern and central Appalachians.
Management practices: Maintaining the Green Comma's woodland habitats is a good first step.
References: Allen, T. J. 1997. The Butterflies of West Virginia and their Caterpillars. University of Pittsburg Press. 388pp.
Cech, R. and G. Tudor. 2005. Butterflies of the East Coast. Pg. 250. Princeton University Press.
Opler, P. A. 1992. A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies. Peterson Field Guides
Pyle, R. M. 1981. Field Guide to North American Butterflies. National Audubon Society.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Program, 600 E. Main St., 24th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219
This atlas was compiled
by the VA Natural Heritage Program with funds provided by the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries through a state wildlife grant
from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Last Modified: Tuesday, 24 January 2017, 10:12:03 PM