In Current Posts/ Feathered Friends Backyard Guests/ Insects

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

butterfly is a reddish- brown winged butterfly with jagged banded outer wings in yellow with bright blue dots

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

The mourning cloak butterfly is one of the first butterflies to be seen in spring.  The butterfly is a reddish- brown winged butterfly with jagged banded outer wings in yellow with bright blue dots and will come out of its winter hiding from under back and well protected crevices on warm days and go back into hiding when temperature dip again.

Mourning Cloak Butterfly Markings

  • Reddish-brown winged butterfly with jagged banded outer wings in yellow with bright blue dots.
  • The underside of the mourning cloak is a modest brown to camouflage the butterfly when the wings are in the upright position. This camouflage mimics tree bark when the butterfly is at rest. The camouflage is known as cryptic camouflage.

Mourning Cloak Basics

  1. Common Name: Mourning Cloak
  2. Scientific Name: Nymphalis antiop
  3. Family: Brush-footed
  4. Habitat: Open woodlands, gardens, edges of bodies of water and edges of woodland areas.
  5. Host Plants: Trees – Birch, elm, hackberry, poplar, and willow.
  6. Range: Most of North America

Additional Reading Posts:
Butterfly Nectar Recipe
How to Tell The Male & Female Monarch Butterflies Apart
Feeding and Attracting Butterflies
Recycled Spoon Garden Butterfly 
Flowers That Attract Hummingbirds & Butterflies


Caterpillars

Identifying Markings 

  • About 2 inches long with black and white speckles and a row of evenly spaced red spots along their back. 
  • Rows of black bristles surround the body and the underside has stubby rusty brown colored legs.

The female butterfly lays clusters of eggs on or near birch, elm, hackberry, poplar and willow trees.  The leaves of the trees become the food source for the caterpillars.  The caterpillars tend to eat in groups and can strip branches of their leaves.  With that said, they normally are not an insect to be of concern to the health of the tree.


Start Your Search For Butterflies In Early Spring

Since this is one of our earliest butterflies in the Northern Hemisphere, start your search early. As the season goes on, search your trees to look for caterpillars.


Pin Me For ID’ing Later

Mourning Cloak Butterfly & Caterpillar

Need Help With ID? Field Guides Are Value

There is a range map for each specie and sub-specie, which are color-coded for the number of broods. The photos are excellent. The field marks are invaluable for ID. 

BUY ON AMAZON

Great layout and lots of information and photos on every page! Each page is laid out with the common and scientific caterpillar names (for only butterflies no moths in the book)and is followed by a brief description of their appearance, their habitat, months they are commonly found, host plants, and additional comments. Each name is shown with a corresponding mini US map outlining in which regions they are found.

The adjacent page shows photos of the corresponding larva by number. It can also show multiple photos of the same species if they vary by brood. 

BUY ON AMAZON


Products With Mourning Cloak Images


Additional Places To Explore:: Insects of Wisconsin / Birds of Wisconsin / Wildflowers, Plants, Invasives & Trees

CategoriesWISCONSIN / MICHIGAN /  INDIANA / SOUTH DAKOTA  / SOUTHERN US / WILDLIFE  / WILDFLOWER & BOTANICALS / VINTAGE FLAIR  / ATV & UTV / PHOTO TUTORIALS CRAFTS / RECIPES / DESIGN WORK /  HOME


Some Additional Butterflies To Explore

Butterflies

Black Swallowtail Butterfly Black Yellow Blue and Orange Butterfly

Male Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The butterfly commonly feeds on many different members of the parsley family, including parsley, carrots, dill, and parsnip. It may also feed on Common Meadow Rue.

Lifecycle of the Monarch Butterfly

Life Cycle of Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle, and through four generations in one year. It’s a little confusing but let me walk you through the process.

White butterfly with a black body and black dots on hind wings.

Cabbage White Butterfly

The cabbage white butterfly is a white or creamy white butterfly but can have slightly pale yellow coloring too.

The butterfly itself is not harmful to crops. But, the caterpillars can wreak havoc on your cabbage and mustard family crops. The butterfly lays the eggs on your plants. The caterpillars eat your leaves and can bore inside.

The female black swallowtail to me appears to be a lighter color black than the males. It isn’t as vivid. The female doesn’t have the first row of yellow markings on the wings as the male does.

Female Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The female black swallowtail to me appears to be a lighter color black than the males. It isn’t as vivid. The female doesn’t have the first row of yellow markings on the wings as the male does.

AFFILIATE POLICY: Posts on this site may contain links to outside vendors that pay me a commission when you purchase from them, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting this site!

Facebook Comments

You Might Also Like

Shares