Polygonia c-album


The Comma is a medium-sized orange and brown butterfly. It is on the wing throughout the year, having several broods, and over-winters 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.

How to identify

The Comma is unmistakeable: 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.

Where to find it

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


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The Comma has made a remarkable comeback during recent times and is now widespread in woodlands and even gardens. The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves for the benefit of butterflies: a mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to surveying for butterflies.

Local information

Commas may be spotted at BBOWT nature reserves including Chimney Meadows, Finemere Wood, Foxholes and Sydlings Copse. Learn more about butterflies on a guided walk or talk, find out what's on here. You can also encourage butterflies into your own garden by planting nectar-rich plants.

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Polygonia c-album
Butterflies and moths
Wingspan: 5-6.4cm
Conservation status