|scientific name Polygonia progne |
common name Grey Comma
Primarily a forest species, found in openings in moist mixed-wood areas.
One brood per year, appearing in early spring (April to May) and again in August to October.
This is one of three commas with a dark, two-toned underside; distinguished from the Hoary Comma (P. gracilis) by the submarginal hindwing spots, which are clearly outlined and stand out against a solid dark border in progne, but are diffuse in gracilis. Greys lack the prominent patches of white wing fringes found in the Oreas Comma (P. oreas), which give the wing margin a more jagged appearance. The wing upperside of progne is also brighter orange with smaller black spots compared to oreas.
There are no described subspecies, although some authors consider the Oreas Comma (P. oreas) as a subspecies of the Grey. Both forms, however, occur together in parts of Alberta and British Columbia without apparent interbreeding (Bird et al. 1995, Guppy & Shepard 2001).
The light green eggs have seven vertical ribs that project above the top, and are laid singly on the hostplant; they hatch within 8 or 9 days (Bird et al. 1995). The mature larvae are tan-coloured with black and paler brown oblique stripes across the back. They bear the branched spines typical of this genus, and these can be black, yellow or white. The pupae are mottled pinkish brown and green (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
Like other commas, adults emerge in late summer, are active until fall, then enter hibernation in sheltered areas such as hollow logs and buildings. They emerge from hibernation in the first warm days of early spring.
Not of concern.
The larvae reportedly feed primarily on gooseberry and currant (Ribes spp.) (Layberry et al. 1998). Adults feed on tree sap flows (Guppy & Shepard 2001).
This species is at home in the boreal forest, from the southern Yukon and the Mackenzie Valley of the Northwest Territories southeast across Canada to Newfoundland, south to North Carolina and Kansas (Layberry et al. 1998).
Comments are published according to our submission guidelines. The EH Strickland Entomological Museum does not necessarily endorse the views expressed.