55 - 60mm
The ragged appearance of the wings of this butterfly make it look like a torn and dilapidated specimen that has been pecked by birds, but the deeply indented outline is normal. The upper wings are a dark, but bright orange and this is the overall impression as it flies. This ground colour is heavily marked with blackish blotches, large on the leading edges of the forewings.
The over-wintering adults emerge sometimes as early as late-February if conditions are good, more usually in March or April. Then the first generation insects are on the wing in June and July, and the second generation fly in August and September, possibly October, but hibernating when the weather deteriorates.
In the spring the Comma will imbibe moisture and nutrients along paths and trackways, especially if horses have passed that way when their droppings will be utilised. The insect will also come to human sweat or the coats of dogs or sheep etc. In the autumn the Comma enjoys the fermenting juice of fallen fruit or sap from damaged oak trees. In gardens it nectars at Michaelmas Daisies and buddleia, also bramble flowers and fruit, hops, and the honeydew formed on tree leaves.