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  • Mourning Cloak Butterfly - (Nymphalis anitopa)

    Mourning Cloak Butterfly - (Nymphalis anitopa)

    The dark, velvety wing of the Mourning Cloak Butterfly helps warm this sun-loving species after a long winter's nap.

    Staff Writer (6/28/2016): The Mourning Cloak Butterfly has very short front legs, like all its Brush-Footed kin. They are covered in short hairs akin to the bristles on a hair brush. The dominant black color almost completely covers the wings, but a bright yellow edge offers a nice contrast. Blue spots above this yellow edge are easiest to see in new butterflies.

    Adults are most active in the spring, summer and sometimes autumn (if a second generation is born in that year). They are one of the few species that hibernate overwinter. This means they are also some of the earliest butterflies seen in the spring. They prefer sunny areas near running water. Streams, creeks and fountains near open meadows or gardens are good places to find them in flight. They are well-adapted to urban areas as well as wild so they can be seen in parks, backyards and business parks.

    The caterpillar feeds on willows. It is almost completely black with several black bristle clusters on its body. Small white and red spots line the body. The caterpillar feeds on the leaves of willow, elm, cottonwood, birch, hackberry and poplar trees.

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    Details of the:
    Mourning Cloak Butterfly

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Mourning Cloak Butterfly
    Scientific Name: Nymphalis anitopa

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Nymphalidae
           Genus: Nymphalis
            Species: anitopa

    Size (Adult, Length): 73mm to 86mm (2.87in to 3.39in)

    Identifying Colors: black, white, brown, yellow, blue, red

    Additional Descriptors: flying

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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