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Polygonia egea

Polygonia egea
Photo Information
Copyright: Nikos Roditakis (NikosR) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 76 W: 3 N: 447] (3436)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2015-07-18
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon D5200, AF-S NIKKOR 18-55 1:3.5-5.6G ED
Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2015-07-20 5:53
Viewed: 872
Points: 10
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Polygonia (Nymphalis) egea (Cramer, 1775)
Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae
Common name: Southern comma

Polygonia egea is a species becoming rather rare by the years. 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, Parietaria officinalis, along walls and roadsides. Here it rests on a wall in my house. It is clearly in decline due to the increasing modernization of old villages with elimination of traditional structures on which it found refugia to hibernate as adult.

There are two species in Europe, Polygonia egea (Southern comma) and Polygonia c-album (Comma). This species 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. The two species are separated:

- richer darker butterfly, less scalloped wings c-album; paler butterfly, fewer dark markings and more deeply scalloped wings egea.

Upperside (underside too, of course, but not visible from below):
- inner margin: deeply curved in c-album, small indent in egea.

- white comma on the underside hindwing: rather U-shaped with a small hooks at the ends in the c-album , V-shaped "sans-serif" (no hooks) in egea.
- underside general mottling: confused and broken up in c-album, striated and parallel in egea.
- underside with row of green-blue spots in post discal area in c-album, no spots in egea.

Here P. egea has two up to three generations per year (April-October). The main host is Parietaria officinalis. The butterfly hibernates as an adult,where its cryptic underside markings and broken wing shape make the butterfly look like a dead leaf. It rests amongst leaves and on tree truncks, possibly also inside outbuildings, emerging on the first warm days of spring in March or April.

It has a remarkable breeding strategy.Some adults from the first generation hibernate, as do all the adults from the second generation. Two forms emerge from the first brood - the typical dark brown form and a lighter, brighter form hutchinsoni. It appears that only the hutchinsoni individuals are sexually active, mating quickly and laying to produce the second brood. Non-hutchinsoni individuals go into hibernation immediately. None of the second brood is of form hutchinsoni thus these are not sexually active and they go into hibernation. After winter all the hibernated butterflies, from 1st and 2nd broods, become sexually mature.

There is some evidence that hutchinsoni individuals may be generated if larvae are exposed to lengthening day lengths, and non-hutchinsoni from shortening day lengths. Thus if conditions are good early in the year, more larvae will become sexually active hutchinsoni, generating a larger second brood. The converse of course being equally valid.

Sources: European butterflies,http://www.eurobutterflies.com/index.htm, Lepidoptera and their ecology http://www.pyrgus.de/Nymphalis_egea_en.html,Wikipedia, personal obserbations

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To Hotelcalifornia: Thanks Sricumar for commentsNikosR 1 07-20 10:00
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Critiques [Translate]

hallo Nikos

nice to see this other comma
i seen only the c=album
great shot and good light and colours
gr lou

Hello Nikos,
One of your best Photograph in recent times, if we talk on its presentation. Very good light and color. Well sharpness too. IMHO, you could removed hind BG portion of the butterfly, either cropping or at the time of capturing photograph, just changing the focus point. Very good work.
Nice to see you are using Nikon D5200 (Smile). I also use...
Thanks for sharing,
Best regards,

Ciao Nikos, great macro of beautiful butterfly, fine details, wonderful colors and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2015-07-21 10:10]

Lovely specimen! The light shining through the wings s beautiful!

Well dne, Nkos!


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2015-07-21 13:03]

Hi Nikos,perfect capture of this egea,impressive sharpness,bright oranage and great exposure,it wasn't easy to work so well on this clear and sunny background.Have a nice day and thanks,Luciano

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