A Question Mark

Question-Mark-1We just returned from a trip to Indiana to visit relatives. On a drive through the countryside we stopped at a bridge over Big Indian Creek. On the gravel next to the stream, we spotted this very colorful butterfly.
Question-Mark-4Notice the striking difference between the brightly colored upper wing pattern and the dull brown plain color of the lower wing surfaces. With the wings closed over its back this creature is a good mimic of a dead leaf or a dead piece of plant debris.

This is Polygonia interrogationis; its common name is “question mark”. If you look closely at the lower center portion of the underwing,  you will spot a small white mark. I have enlarged this marking and rotated it 90 degrees counterclockwise in the photograph below. It looks roughly like a question mark, hence the common name.



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