Polygonia c-album


The Comma is a medium-sized orange and brown butterfly. It is on the wing throughout the year, having several broods, and over-winters as an adult. The Comma is a common and widespread butterfly of woodland edges, particularly during the spring and autumn. The caterpillars feed on Common Nettles, elms and willows.

How to identify

The Comma is unmistakeable: ragged-shaped, orange wings with brown spots distinguish it from similar species. The caterpillars have brown and white flecks which make them look like bird-droppings and help to camouflage them.

Where to find it

Found across England and Wales, but only just spreading into southern Scotland.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The Comma has made a remarkable comeback during recent times and is now widespread in woodlands and even gardens. The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves for the benefit of butterflies: a mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for butterflies.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Polygonia c-album
Butterflies and moths
Wingspan: 5-6.4cm
Conservation status