|scientific name Polygonia interrogationis |
common name Question Mark
Usually found near woodlands; only one Alberta record, near Lloydminster.
One brood per year in Canada, occurring in May to June and again in August and September.
The large size (wingspan 45 to 68 mm), long, thin tails and violet edging to the wings easily distinguish the Question Mark from other Polygonia in the province.
The pale green eggs are laid singly or in stacks of up to eight on young leaves of the hostplant (Scott 1986). The larvae are spiny and variable in colour, usually black with white dots, reddish brown lateral lines, and yellow dorsal lines (Scott 1986). The pupa can also be quite variable, ranging in colour from yellow- to reddisah brown or green with a mettalic gold or silver spot near the middle (Scott 1986).
This species is multi-brooded in the southern parts of its range, but in Canada there is only one yearly generation (Layberry et al. 1998). It appears that the Question Mark may migrate southward in the fall to overwinter, returning in the spring (Layberry et al. 1998), unlike other members of this genus which do not migrate.
It is unclear if the single Alberta record represents a stray individual or an accidental introduction, and field work needed to establish the status of this species.
Conservation status unknown.
Larvae feed on stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), elm (Ulmus spp.) and hops (Humulus lupulus) (Layberry et al. 1998). Adults rarely visit flowers, instead preferring sap flows from injured tree trunks, carrion and mammal scat.
Primarily a species of the eastern and central US, reaching southern Canada from Newfoundland to southeastern Saskatchewan (Scott 1986, Layberry et al. 1998). The sole Alberta record is from a specimen collected on 14 May 1978 at Joy Mountain, Blackfoot Hills, 12 mi. SSW of Lloydminster by J. Smith (Kondla 1998).
Blackfoot Hills near Lloydminster (Layberry et al. 1998).
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