The Way of Nature


Nature Close to Home and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Dave Woehr shares monthly naturalist stories.

LEBANON, OH -- A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker had riddled this tree trunk with sap wells that were oozing sap out onto the bark much to the delight of dozens of Eastern Commas, Honey Bees, various flies and other insects. The sugary sap will have to satisfy the appetites of these pollinators until the rush of spring ephemerals gets underway.

Spring activity is just starting here in the woodlands of Warren County. The Eastern Comma is one of the earliest species of butterflies to appear each year. With a wingspan not much more than an inch and a half it might be easy to overlook were it not for its bright color. In fact, were it not to reveal these colors by spreading its wings to absorb the sun’s warmth, it would likely rest with its wings folded showing only a dull color pattern on the ventral (underneath) surface.

Interestingly, this species gets its Comma name from a single silver comma-shaped marking that stands out against the brown, dead leaf camouflaged color scheme on this ventral wing surface.

Now that the Eastern Comma has made its 2024 debut it will be around until Thanksgiving. Look for it when you are on forested hiking trails.

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