Mourning Cloak, Nymphalis antiopa

Mourning Cloak

Nymphalis antiopa

Above, this butterfly is a brownish/red color with a wide yellow margin, and a row of blue submarginal spots. Below, this species is brown with a white border, very well camouflaged among leaves and on tree trunks.

Woodlands, woodland edges, parks, and rarely (despite the photos) in open fields taking nectar.

Overwintering Strategy:   Adult Butterfly

This butterfly has one brood which emerges in July, flies throughout the summer and fall, hibernates, and then flies and mates in the spring.

Caterpillar Host Plants:
Willows including Black willow (Salix nigra), and Silky willow (S. sericea); also American elm (Ulmus americana), Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), Aspen (P. tremuloides), Paper birch (Betula papyrifera), and Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Although it is usually seen singly, the Mourning Cloak is a fairly common butterfly throughout Wisconsin and one that should be expected in every county.

Overwintering Strategy

Two-way migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to Central Mexico
Small migration: Adult migrates from Wisconsin to southern US
Immigrant: Adult migrates into Wisconsin from warmer areas and don't fly south in winter
Adult Butterfly: Hibernates overwinter as an adult butterfly
Eggs: Eggs laid on stems, twigs or foot plants overwinter in diapause
Caterpillar: Caterpillars make nests on the base of plants and hibernate until spring
Chrysalis: Caterpillars shed their last skin, form a chrysalis and enter diapause.

For more information, read: Where Do Butterflies Go In Winter?

Further Information:   

 Design A Butterfly Garden
 Take The Butterfly Quiz
 Monarch Life Cycle
 Butterflies and Moths of North America
 Southern Wisconsin Butterfly Assn (NABA)
 The Butterfly Site

Bees flying footer graphic