Grey Comma (Polygonia progne) (Cramer, 1776)

Diagnosis: The Grey Comma is dark reddish brown on the outer half of the hindwing upper side with three to five yellow spots close to the margin. The dark spots on the forewing upper side are usually smaller than in other anglewings and the lowermost spot is not double as in many species. The underside is grey to brown with many fine pale grey striae, but with little contrast in pattern anywhere on the hindwing. The silver mark on the hindwing is small and L-shaped, tapering at the ends. Wingspan: 37 to 50 mm.

Subspecies: None. Named subspecies of progne should be placed under oreas.

Range: This is perhaps the most widespread of the anglewings, occurring in the U.S., south to North Carolina and Kansas. In Canada it is a woodland species, mainly in the Boreal and Mixed Deciduous Woodland Zones, found in all provinces and territories south of the tundra. It does not occur in southern British Columbia and has not been reported from Labrador (Morris, 1980).

Similar Species: Most likely to be confused with the Oreas Comma (P. oreas) and the Hoary Comma (P. gracilis). [compare images]

Early Stages: The larva is yellowish brown with darker blotches and lines. The spines are either yellow or black. It feeds mainly on currants and gooseberries (Ribes spp.).

The description of the image follows.
Grey Comma (Polygonia progne progne). South March, Ont. P.W. Hall

Abundance: Although not common, the Grey Comma is widespread and seen regularly in small numbers. In Nova Scotia and southwestern Ontario, it is reported to be less common than it was previously (Ferguson, 1954; Wormington, 1983).

Flight Season: This is another double-brooded species that flies from late March through to October in much of its Canadian range. The spring emergence from hibernation occurs later farther north.

Habits: The Grey Comma is the slowest flying of the anglewings but it can be very wary. It feeds on sap, carrion, and dung, and is occasionally seen on flowers.

© 2002. This material is reproduced with permission from The Butterflies of Canada by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.