March: Question Mark

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Butterflies of Cape Cod

March’s Butterfly of the Month is Polygonia interrogationis, the Question Mark.

NGS Picture ID:996510 An orange question mark butterfly on a leafy twig.

Range: They can be found throughout the entire eastern United States, as well as in very northern Mexico, and southern Canada.[1]

How to Attract them to Your Backyard: If you happen to have an Elm tree in your yard, you are off to a good start. We find a combination of elm and false nettle does a great job of attracting question marks for us.

May be confused with: Eastern Comma

Size: ~2”

Season: May through October

Female vs. Male: No easily noticed visual difference.

Question Mark LarvaLife Cycle: The coloration of the caterpillars varies considerably. Some have dark oranges spines, while others can have pale yellow spines. Caterpillars spin pink silk to anchor the chrysalis. The butterflies emerge in the fall and overwinter as adults. They remain mostly inactive (hiding)…

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