mourning cloak

(Nymphalis antiopa)

Conservation Status
mourning cloak
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Mourning cloak is a large, dark, brushfooted butterfly. It has a wingspan of 2¼ to 4.

Young butterflies are reddish-brown above with a wide yellow border at the outer margin and conspicuous, iridescent blue submarginal spots. The underside is dark, striated brown with a wide white border at the outer margin. Older individuals in May and June are dark brown above with a wide cream to yellow border at the outer margin and less conspicuous submarginal spots.

The caterpillar is black with much white flecking, a narrow black line down the center, 2 rows of red spots, and numerous long, shiny, black spines.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

2¼ to 4 wingspan

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Unmistakable. No similar species.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Wherever host plants are found

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Mid March to Mid October. One brood emerges in June or July.

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

 

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

This is usually the first butterfly seen in the spring because most adults overwinter. It is also one of the longest lived butterflies in Minnesota, living up to 10 months.

Caterpillars live in a communal web.

After the new brood emerges in June or July they enter a period of dormancy (aestivate) similar to hibernation. They fly again in September and October.

Most adults hibernate in the winter in hollow logs, wood piles, and loose bark. Some adults migrate south in the fall.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Young leaves of mostly willow, but also plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides var. molinifera), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), American elm (Ulmus americana), paper birch (Betula papyrifera var. papyrifera), and northern hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Mostly oak and maple sap, but also other tree sap, rotting fruit, and occasionally flower nectar. Often found at sapsucker holes in the spring.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

7, 20, 21, 24, 29, 71.

 
  7/6/2015      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Papilionoidea (butterflies [excluding skippers])  
 

Family

Nymphalidae (brush-foots)  
 

Subfamily

Nymphalinae (true brushfoots)  
 

Tribe

Nymphalini  
 

Genus

Nymphalis  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

camberwell beauty

mourning cloak

mourningcloak butterfly

spiny elm caterpillar (larvae)

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Aestivate

A period of reduced metabolic activity in the summer, similar to hibernation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Molly and Robert Power

 
 

Drinking maple sap from a tap hole we drilled earlier this year

 
    mourning cloak      
 

Alfredo Colon

 
    mourning cloak   mourning cloak  
 

Tom Baker

 
    mourning cloak   mourning cloak  
           
    mourning cloak   mourning cloak  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    mourning cloak   mourning cloak  
           
    mourning cloak   mourning cloak  
           
    mourning cloak   mourning cloak  
           
    mourning cloak      
           

 

Camera

     
 
Slideshows
 
Mourning Cloak Butterfly
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Mourning Cloak Butterfly  
 
About

Nymphalis antiopa

 
Nymphalis antiopa (Mourning Cloak)
Allen Chartier
  Nymphalis antiopa (Mourning Cloak)  
Mourning Cloak butterfly
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Mourning Cloak butterfly  
Mourning Cloak
jt893x
  Mourning Cloak  
Mourning Cloak - Nymphalis antiopa
wetvideocamera
   
 
About

Published on Jan 26, 2014

Nymphalis antiopa

 
     

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Other Videos
 
  The flight of the Camberwell beauty (Nymphalis antiopa).
Filming VarWild
 
   
 
About

Published on Oct 20, 2013

An extract of a documentary about the Camberwell beauty (Nymphalis antiopa). Discover the life-cycle of this magnificent and difficult butterfly to approach. All the different states of the cycle have been filmed, from the hatching of the egg up to the transformation into a chrysalis and finally the liberation of the butterfly itself in fabulous natural scenery.

For more information visit our website Filming VarWild.

http://www.filming-varwild.com

 
  Mourning Cloak Butterfly (Nymphalis Antiopa)
NatureBytes
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 28, 2009

A special treat is in store for you as you witness Mourning Cloak Caterpillars dance to Indian flute jazz.

www.naturebytesvideo.com

 
  [HD] Nymphalis antiopa
BSJTeinopalpus
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 27, 2012

Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) is easy to identify because of its unique wing markings. The distribution of this species is covering almost all over Eurasia and North America. In Japan this species is confined to the mountains. It appears from middle August when other butterflies have already been worn. Flight is swift and glaceful. It rarely visits flowers, it is usually attracted by tree sap, rotten fruits or animal droppings. This species hibernate as an adult butterfly. In May or June worn butterflies with their wing edge in white are seen.

 
  Sorgmantel nymphalis antiopa
asplundlars
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 3, 2013

fjäril Sorgmantel nymphalis antiopa
Music: ccMixter Longing for Tumbleweeds (ft. snowflake)
2011 Admiral Bob Licensed to the public under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Verify at http://ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/33347

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Molly and Robert Power
4/3/2021

Location: Albany MN

Drinking maple sap from a tap hole we drilled earlier this year

mourning cloak

 
  Kate Nettleman
11/4/2020

Location: Superior National Trail, near Grand Marais

I was astonished to see a mourning cloak butterfly flitting along Superior hiking trail north of Grand Marais today (November!)

 
  Jay Anderson
4/1/2020

Location: Chisholm, MN

 
  Brigid
9/21/2020

Location: Marine, MN. 55047

 
  Alfredo Colon
Summer 2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

mourning cloak

 
  Carol Nettleton
4/19/2019

Location: Oakdale Park

Observed adult sitting in leaf litter in open woodland on the north side of the nature center. Temperature in mid 60’s and sunny.

 
  Patricia Jensen
3/29/2018

I was in my backyard today and saw this butterfly sunning itself. Beautiful. Didn't know what it was until I looked it up. Will it survive our cold and snowy Spring?

 
  John Valo
3/30/2018

Good question. The next day it snowed. JG saw an early one on March 22, 2016 (below). I don't know what the weather was like that year.

 
  JG
3/22/2016

Location: Roseville

Saw an adult in early this afternoon hovering over landscape bark at the base of a maple tree in our south-facing front yard

 
  Annie
2015

Location: Sauk Rapids

I have been seeing these in our neighbor hood all summer. We live in a swampy area with a lot of oak, popples, and willow trees.

 
  Chuck Dick
6/18/2014

Hello: I have one of these in a cocoon on my deck railing. Looking forward to watching it hatch.

 
  Carrie
6/18/2014

Location: Hiawatha Park

Saw it cruising through the baseball infield at Hiawatha Park in Minneapolis.

 
  Paul Martinek
7/29/2013

Location: Douglas Co.

While researching what was eating my willow tree's I seen this email.  I had a quite large infestation of these yesterday.  Thought you might want to add douglas county as your sighting list.

 
  Crystal Boyd
6/10 and 6/11/2013

Location: Uncas Dunes SNA

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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Created: 6/20/2009

Last Updated:

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