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The Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-aibum) is of the family Nymphalidae which is in the genus Polygonia.
This common species has a widespread distribution in the temperate regions of Eurasia and North Africa. Formally absent from Ireland, it is only in recent times that it has been added to the Irish Butterfly List. It was first reliably reported near Portaferry, Co. Down in August 1997 and again in August 1998. There were no further reports until 17th August 2000 when there was a fully verified record from the Raven Nature Reserve, Co. Wexford. Proof of breeding was subsequently confirmed in that area. Over the last ten years, it has rapidly expanded its range from southeast Co. Wexford and has now colonised most of southern Leinster as well as eastern Munster.
The larval food plant is mainly Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) and the flight season is from late March to late September, split over two generations. Having overwintered as an adult, it emerges in late spring and then after mating, lays its eggs on the larval food plant.
The 1st record for Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork on 14th October 2019 (pers. comm. Jim Fitzharris) might be an indication of fresh immigration from Britain or Continental Europe.
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds