Sunday morning, in the sunshine, Ian found and photographed this beautiful, newly emerged comma butterfly on Village Green.
Commas hibernate in bark crevices and the hollows of trees, where they are perfectly camouflaged by the pattern on their underwings. They emerge in the spring to feed on early nectar sources: blackthorn and willow catkins. The male sets up a territory on the sunny edge of woodland or in a clearing and waits there for passing females. He makes short flights from an habitual perch to check out any flying insect that comes close in case it might be a potential mate.
The females lay green eggs, singly or in small groups, on a variety of plants but most commonly on nettles. The caterpillars, when they hatch, look like bird droppings, a disguise that protects them from predators.
Commas, unlike many species of British butterflies, are increasing in numbers and spreading into new habitat. Village Green, with its surround of mixed woodland, hedges of blackthorn and goat willow, and drifts of nettles is ideal.
Photographs: Ian B. and Google Images
Another post about insects: