Satyr Comma (Polygonia satyrus [W. H. Edwards])
Wing span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/2 inches (4/5 - 6.4 cm).
Identification: Upperside is bright yellow-orange; forewing with two black spots near center of bottom edge; hindwing lacks a dark border, has a black spot in center of wing. Underside is light and dark golden brown, median band relatively straight; hindwing with a silver comma in center.
Life history: In late afternoon, males perch on tree trunks and low vegetation in woodland openings to watch for females. Eggs are laid singly, in stacks, or in groups on the lower side of nettle leaves. Caterpillars eat leaves and make a shelter by pulling down and fastening the edges of a leaf with silk. Adults hibernate.
Flight: Two to three flights on the Pacific Coast from February-November; two flights in Colorado, Nevada, and Saskatchewan from June-September; one flight in remainder of range from July-September.
Caterpillar hosts: Various nettles (Urticaceae species).
Adult food: Tree sap, rotting fruit, flower nectar including that from blackberry and almond.
Habitat: Valley bottoms, along streams, wooded prairie ravines, marshes, openings in riparian woods, fields and edges near moist woods.
Range: Southern Yukon and Northwest Territories south through western Canada and western United States to Baja California, southern Arizona, and southwest New Mexico; east across the Great Lakes states to northern New England and Nova Scotia.
Conservation: Not usually required.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates. Tilden, J. W. 1986. A field guide to western butterflies. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. 370 pages, 23 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Brown, J.W., Real, H.G., and D.K. Faulkner. 1992. Butterflies of Baja California. Lepidoptera Research Foundation, Beverly Hills, Calif. Comstock, J.A. 1927. Butterflies of California. Privately published, Los Angeles, Calif. [Facsimile available from Entomological Reprint Specialists, Los Angeles, Calif.] Dameron, W. 1997. Searching for butterflies in southern California. Flutterby Press, Los Angeles, Calif. Emmel, T.C. Editor. 1998. Systematics of western North American butterflies. Mariposa Press, Gainesville, Florida. Emmel, T. C. and J. F. Emmel. 1973. The Butterflies of Southern California. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Science Series No. 26. Garth, J.S. and J.W. Tilden. 1986. California Butterflies. California Natural History Guide 51. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles. Langston, R.L. 1981. The Rhopalocera of Santa Cruz Island, California. Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 18: 24-35. Miller, Scott E. 1985. Butterflies of the Califorenia Channel Islands. Journal of the Research on the Lepidoptera 23: 282-296. Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Orsak, L.J. 1977. The Butterflies of Orange County, California. Museum of Systematic Biology, University of california, Irvine. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo. Steiner, J. 1990. Bay Area Butterflies: The Distribution and Natural History of San Francisco Region Rhopalocera. Hayward, Calif.: Hayward State University, Masters Thesis. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Tilden, J.W. 1965. Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay Region. California Natural History Guide 12. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles.