Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Question Mark Butterfly

The Question Mark Butterfly

I took this picture of this beautiful little butterfly while on a walk with our youngest granddaughter, Jazzy a little while back. She and I love to go walking and I always have my camera with me. These little butterflies were drinking from puddles of water from the recent rains we have had. There were probably 20 or more of these beauties flitting around us. One of them even landed on top of Jazzy head. She immediately said, “Take a picture, Nanni!” 

Jazzy with Butterfly on her head.

This little beauty is called a “question mark” butterfly as on the brownish underside of its wings is a small white mark that looks similar to a question mark. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture of underside as they wouldn’t be still long enough with their wings folded up.

The question mark butterfly is common on our area of southern Oklahoma and they can be found in most areas of the eastern and central US. They like to perch on leaves or tree trunks and can often be found on the ground drinking from small water puddles, as these were.

They have a wing span of 2 ¼ - 3 inches and their forewings are “hooked” and are a reddish orange color with black spots. The upper side of the hindwings are mostly black with a short tail in summer. In winter the tail is more orange with a violet tip. They are very similar to the “comma” butterfly, which has a small white comma shape on the underside of its wings.

The adult female lays her eggs on the underside of leaves, but usually not on the host plants. The caterpillars must find the host plants themselves. Some of the question mark butterfly host plants are false nettle, nettle and hackberry as well as hostas.

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