Question Mark Butterfly

Question Mark Butterfly Coloration, Characteristics and Size


The Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) is a beautiful orange and black butterfly with sharply angled wing margins, and short tails-like projections. Underneath is a mottled brown color. It is similar to the Eastern Comma butterfly.

Its size is in the 2.2" - 3.0" range.

Distribution and Habitat

The Question mark ranges across the eastern two thirds of the United States, from North Dakota down to Texas, and east to the Atlantic coast.

This butterfly is often found in moist woodlands, swamps, parks and residential landscapes. Winter adults can hibernate in warmer climates, and emerge on warm, sunny days.

Question Mark Butterfly Identification

Shown in the image below are the markings on the underside of the Question Mark butterfly that give it the name. A silver curved line and adjacent dot form what appears as a question mark.

They resemble dry, dead leaves with their wings closed.

The markings on the Question Mark butterfly that give it the name

 

Nectar and Host Plants Used by the Question Mark

Host plants used by the Question Mark are hops, elm, hackberry,and nettle.

Adult food sources include sap, mud, fruit, dung, and carrion.

Question Mark Butterfly Life Cycle Stages and Times

Stage Typical Duration
Egg stage 4 to 14 days
Caterpillar (larval) stage 3 to 4 weeks
Chrysalis (pupal) stage 7 to 18 days
Adult butterfly stage 6 to 20 days

 

Photos of Question Mark Butterflies

Question Mark butterfly - wings open
Question Mark butterfly - wings open

Question Mark butterfly - closed wings
Question Mark butterfly - closed wings

 

The perfect camouflage of the Question Mark butterfly
The perfect camouflage of the Question Mark butterfly

Question Marks are friendly to humans!
Question Marks are friendly to humans!