I found this creature on a piling of my beach house on the Jersey Shore in September on a warm day. I didn’t disturb it at all, just took a photo. I only see 4 legs so I’m not even sure it’s a bug. It appears to have an eye and teeth but they are just markings. Cool, huh? Can you identify?
Paul from NJ and CT
Northeast, coastal south New Jersey
This is actually a Question Mark Butterfly, Polygonia interrogationis. The Question Mark is one of the Anglewing Butterflies, a genus of Nymphalida, the Brush Footed Butterfly Family. This family is known as Brushfooted Butterflies because the first pair of legs is modified into brushlike appendages not used for walking, so only four legs are visible. Your letter mentions this observation, and photo illustrate it. Your photo also nicely illustrates the silver Question Mark on the underside of the lower wings.