Many butterflies have very different patterns on their upper wings and their under wings. This Gray Comma is a good example. The photo on the left shows the colorful upper wing and the center photo shows the underside of the same butterfly. Notice the small white curved spot (the comma) on the lower or hind wing. The photo on the right shows another member of the comma family, the Hoary Comma. You can see the difficulty in identifying butterflies in the field. The “comma” on the Hoary is a little thicker and more rounded, and the brown color pattern is somewhat different than on the Gray Comma. But they don’t sit still very long to allow you to see this. Commas are medium-size butterflies with a wingspan of 1½ to 2 inches. All three of these photos were taken along a gravel road called Alder Road in Itasca County, Minnesota.
NOTE: I originally submitted the photo on the right to BugGuide.net and someone identified it as a Hoary Comma. Later, a different expert pointed out that this is actually an Eastern Comma. That just empasizes how difficult it is to identify some of these insects. Earl