When we got to the Rose River Falls on our hike a couple weekends back, we took a few moments to catch our breath. We were in the middle of the climb back up to the Skyline Drive, so we needed the rest. But there were also the falls to look at, and about a dozen butterflies in and around this one tree next to the trail. Most of them were Red Admirals, but there was at least one Question Mark.
That's right. There is a butterfly named after punctuation. Actually, there is another butterfly that looks very similar to the Question Mark called an Eastern Comma. So that would be at least two butterflies named after punctuation. Not sure if there are any more.
The Question Mark gets its name from the underside of its wings (see the second picture). The underside is much browner, and cryptically patterned. In the pattern, however, is a small question mark shaped white line. It is really a small white curve with a white dot next to it. On the Eastern Comma (not pictured, but follow the link above to see someone else's picture) there is no white dot, but there is still a hooked white curve. There are other differences between the two on the top side, with the pattern of black dots on the orange wings.
The first picture here shows the top side of the Question Mark. The second picture shows the Question Mark with its wings "up", giving you a blurry glimpse of its signature field mark (look towards the back of the near wing and you will see the curved white line and white dot on the brownish wing).
Yeah, it is something of a reach to say that the white curve and dot look like that thing you put at the end of a sentence that asks a question. Right???