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Polygonia egea

Southern Comma

Field Notes

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S Greece, July 2007


Crete, June 2004


Sicily, Italy, May 2000


Southern Comma
Polygonia egea (Nymphalis egea)

Distribution: SE France, Italy, Balkans, Greece. It appears to have become very rare in France.

Identification: This species and the Comma, P. c-album, are distinctive. They have highly scalloped wings, looking like a dead leaf with wings closed. The uppersides are rich orange brown with darker brown spots. To separate these two species, please refer to the pages for the Comma, P. c-album. The Southern Comma is generally paler and brighter with fewer and smaller black marking on the upperside.

Flight time: Flies throughout the summer in 2 or 3 generations. Hibernates as an adult, emerging in early spring.

Habitat: Cliffs or rocky places, often with open woodland or scrub nearby. Equally frequently (or infrequently!) encountered in villages.

Behaviour: Loves resting on rock faces or walls where it basks in bright sunshine. I have the impression it generally basks with head facing downwards. Also loves nectar rich flowers such as Red Valerian or Dwarf Alder.

Additional notes: I've not seen this butterfly so many times but it is often a pleasant surprise in villages in hilly areas where it frequents flowers, such as Red Valerian, along walls and roadsides.


Sicily, Italy, May 2000

The best underside view I have


Pelopennesos, Greece, June 2002

Accompanied by Melanargia larissa