On this page, you can read about one of K-Country’s spring/fall butterflies, the Mourning Cloak. Another is the Faunus Anglewing, Polygonia faunus. It’s known elsewhere as the Green Comma (though it is neither green nor shaped like a comma. Who names these things?). It is an Anglewing, not an Angelwing (which is a different type of butterfly entirely). It’s called an Anglewing because, as you can see in the photos, it sits with its wings at an angle, not pulled together or out flat.
The easiest way to identify a Faunus is to look for the highly sculpted trailing edge of their wing. Another dead giveaway is the dark “teeth” markings on the leading edge of the wing. There are a few similar orange and black species, but the others all have white spots on the wingtips or complicated patterns. Faunus do not have white spots, and their patters are simple.
Like the Mourning Cloak, this butterfly overwinters as an adult. This is why you see them early in the spring. They are supremely well camouflaged on their underside to blend into tree bark as you can see in the picture to the right. They overwinter safely, well hidden against the tree.
Faunus emerge from hibernation in early April. Once awake, they are looking to mate immediately (while in between, sunning themselves on roads, trails and rocks).
They’ll lay their eggs by May. You’ll start seeing their caterpillars around June, though we have no idea what their caterpillars look like. Their favourite plants to lay eggs on are willows, dogwood, birches and alders, and those leaves become caterpillar food.
By late August, they have become adults. Similarly to the Mourning Cloak, there are two eruptions of them each year, in the spring and fall. The photo to the right shows 5 visible Faunus, plus if you look hard enough, 4 more with their wings folded. This was a fall eruption in 2021. It’s possible they are newly pupated adults who were actually born on the bush they are on.
The Faunus Anglewing is a fairly widely spread species, unique to North America. They are particularly fond of mountains and boreal forests, as the range map shows.
By the way: in ancient Roman religion and myth, Faunus was the horned god of the forest, plains and fields. He is one of the oldest Roman deities, associated with divine favour.
Meet more of the critters of K-Country here!