Question Marks LOVE sap. The freshly emerged beauty seen here repeatedly returned to the one spot at the deeply creviced branch, vigorously sucking up tree juice from a slit in the wood, while warming its wings in the sun, and also fending off flies – butterfly multi-tasking.
The Question Mark is one of two butterfly species that “punctuates, ” the other being the Eastern Comma. Look for the four dots on the dorsal side of the upper wing and the tiny question mark on the ventral side of the lower wings.
Question Marks on the wing at this time of year are the “fabricii” form, emerging from late August through October, as opposed to the darker “umbrosa” form seen in the spring. The wing pattern is prettier in the fall, more brilliant orange with anglewings tipped in frosted violet fringe.
To attract Question Marks, grow elms, nettles, and hackberry for their larval host, or caterpillar food, plants.