Comma Butterfly (Keith Salvesen)

This is a Comma butterfly that happens to have been photographed in Oxford. There are plenty about right now – I’ve been seeing them in London, coastal Sussex and Dorset. This one in Oxford was enjoying Nepeta (catmint), and providing a lazy excuse to reference the seemingly interminable ‘Oxford Comma’ grammar debate – the question whether, in a list of items, a comma is mandatory before the eventual ‘and’. See below (if you can be bothered in all this hot weather / while the World Cup is on).

Comma Butterfly (Keith Salvesen) Comma Butterfly (Keith Salvesen) Comma Butterfly (Keith Salvesen)

“I love my parents, Jesus Christ and Lady Gaga”. Does this make any kind of sense? No. Exactly. You are not the progeny of Christ and a self-enobled and cannily bonkers popular singer. You need a comma before the ‘and’ for the sentence to make sense. Only then are you clearly loving each of those specified independently. I rest my case.


I can’t remember when I last saw a Comma, but yesterday there was one fluttering around me as I fished on the Frome. I’d forgotten how comparatively large they are. I only had a tiny camera with me, one that doesn’t matter if it goes in the water. It’s for recording fish, should I ever  catch one and have a free hand available as I remove the (barbless) hook and release the fish as quickly as possible. In practice, never.

There were wonderful damselflies – blue, turquoise, reddish and green – but  it would have been a waste of time to photograph them. I also saw a white egret (quite common now in Dorset) and 4 kingfishers. Or more likely the same bird 4 times.

Comma Butterfly, River Frome, Dorset2Comma Butterfly, River Frome, Dorset1Comma Butterfly, River Frome, Dorset3 Comma Butterfly, River Frome, Dorset4