Wisconsin Native Caterpillars
Mourning Cloak Caterpillar
Genus-Species: Nymphalis antiopa
Description: Fully grown larvae are black with
several rows of black bristles that cover the body. A distinctive row of red spots extends
down the middle of the back.
Chrysalis: Tan or gray brown. Hangs upside
down with two horn-like head projections, a "beak," and several thorny tubercles on
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
Habitat: Woodlands, woodland edges, parks, and rarely
(despite the photos) in open fields taking nectar.
Comments: 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.
Find instructions on how to design a butterfly-friendly habitat including a catalog of favorite flowers
guaranteed to attract butterflies.
Take this quick quiz and see how much you know about caterpillars. This quiz is intended for fun, in
a random-facts-can-be-cool kind of way.
How does this magic happen? Learn about metamorphosis - the process of transformation from an
immature form to an adult bitterfly.