ADULT: Wingspan - 50 - 64mm. The jagged edged wings with the coppery orange background and sooty brown markings make this butterfly instantly recognisable. There is usually a smattering of pale orange spots towards the margins of both wings. The smoky brown underwings bear a conspicuous white 'comma' that gives the species its name. CHRYSALIS: 21mm. Pinkish brown with gold and silver markings and suspended from a silk pad. LARVA: 34mm. Greeny buff at first turning brown with white patches that provides excellent camouflage due to its likeness to a bird dropping. Usually found on the underside of leaves. At full size the caterpillar becomes spiny with a white dorsal patch and will venture to the upper surface of a leaf. (Link). EGG: Green with white ridges, oval and found on margins of nettles or elms. Hatching time within 17 days. BEHAVIOUR: Males are extremely territorial and patrol and perch within their territory. A strong flier of woodland rides the flight pattern is made of several quick wing beats followed by a brief glide. Early mornings and late afternoons are good times to observe this species as it feeds on flowers, particularly buddleia. HABITAT: Hedgerows, woodland edges and clearings, gardens and rough hillsides. FLIGHT PERIOD: March - October in two broods.
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