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.
The butterfly will come out of its winter hiding from under back and well-protected crevices on warm days and go back into hiding when the temperature dip again.
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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
- Common Name: Mourning Cloak
- Scientific Name: Nymphalis antiop
- Family: Brush-footed
- Habitat: Open woodlands, gardens, edges of bodies of water and edges of woodland areas.
- Host Plants: Trees – Birch, elm, hackberry, poplar, and willow.
- Range: Most of North America
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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.
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