The First Butterfly: Eastern Comma

I often see the first butterflies of the year in Detroit’s Eliza Howell Park near the beginning of April. This year the season began with three Eastern Commas on April 2.

This is the third time in the last four years that this species was the first to appear. I did not get a picture this week; this one is from later in the season last year.

20200404_135637The Comma gets its name from the light-colored curved line on the underside of the wing, similar in appearance to a comma.

20200404_134703In the Michigan climate, butterflies are not active in the winter. Different species survive the winter in different ways. Some overwinter as eggs, some as caterpillars, some in the chrysalis form, some migrate south.

And some hibernate as adult butterflies. Butterflies that overwinter as adults are the first to fly in the spring; they do not need to complete development or migrate. The Eatern Comma is one of these.

20200404_135059The Eastern Comma is a woodland species, usually seen in woods or at the edges of woods. They feed mostly on tree sap and decaying organic material.

They rarely seek flowers, though I did get this picture during the second flight, the summer flight, of the comma.

Resized_20180724_122450(2)We can watch birds all year long, but the butterfly season is so much shorter. It has now begun!

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