Comma Polygonia c-album

The comma is a medium-sized orange and brown spotted butterfly. It is on the wing throughout the year, having several broods, and overwinters 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.


The comma is unmistakable: 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.


  • Wingspan: 5-6.4cm




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

When to see

January – December


  • Having suffered major declines, this was once a very rare butterfly restricted to the Welsh borders. However, in the past 30 years or so, the Comma has spread and become a common butterfly of woodland edges.
  • Male commas are territorial and like to investigate anything that enters their territory before returning to the same perch to wait for a suitable mate

Common name


Species name

Polygonia c-album

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

January – December

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Falls of Clyde or Bawsinch & Duddingston.

Stay up to date with the Scottish Wildlife Trust by subscribing to our mailing list Subscribe now

Back to top