Friday, May 4, 2012

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Every spring I look forward to the first appearance of my favourite butterfly - the Mourning Cloak. It's usually one of the first species to appear because it is one of only a few butterfly species that overwinters as adults. All they need is a few sunny hours to awake from a form of hibernation and make their first appearance. The newly emerged butterflies seek a mate and then the females lay eggs on tender green leaves as they start to appear. Willows and members of the poplar family are favourite host plants. Then the adults die and we have to wait until later in the summer to see this spectacular butterfly again.

The name is an English translation of the common name for this species from Germanic languages. The English themselves call Nymphalis antiopa the Camberwell Beauty. Mourning cloaks have been out for a few weeks already this spring but it took until today before I met up with one while I was carrying a camera and had an opportunity for a shot.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I recently found a chrysalis outside my mother in law's house. It was on their siding. I knew they were going to be doing yard work that day, so I decided to rescue it. I kept it in a zip up mesh bag meant for washing intimates. I hot glued a tiny flower pot to a margerin container lid that I sewed into the bottom of the bag, and I put a stick in tyhe pot, and that is what held up the chrysalis. Anyway, we kept it here for over a week, and this morning, the butterfly emerged. This whole time, I thought it was a Painted Lady, but it turned out to be a Mourning Cloak. It was a nice surprise as I knew nothing about them before. It was so beautiful. My 3 year old daughter loved him and it was so content hanging out on her arm. After a couple hours, we set it free. I wish I could've held onto it a little longer, but I didn't feel right about it. We miss it.

Anyway, this is a photo of it. It's on my FB, and I tried to make it public, so hopefully you can see it.