Friday, April 8, 2011

Mourning Cloak

I saw my first Mourning Cloak of the year on 7 April 2011. The butterfly flew so fast through our yard that I've made do with another image taken in June 2007 in Northfield.  Mourning Cloaks often emerge from winter hibernation with the first spring thaw.  Although seldom abundant, Mourning Cloaks are found in a wide variety of habitats.  Adults are relatively long-lived, sometimes lasting over ten months.  The larva are found on willows, cottonwoods, elms, birches, and hackberries--all common trees in northern forests.  Most of this information was gleaned from Kaufman's Field Guide to Butterflies of North America.

I am not a butterfly expert--just newly enthusiastic.  After hearing from Hap Huber, I have changed my identification of what I called a Bog Fritillary to an Atlantis Fritillary.  I very much welcome constructive criticisms of any butterfly identification I make!


  1. Typo: You did not see a butterfly on April 17, 2011, since that date has not as yet occurred.

  2. Good Point! Change the 17 to 7! My apologies.

  3. I am writng a story about cloaks ,glad to find out of their long life .The longest and most likely to make it through winter I think.We kept some in our classroom when I taught 3rd grade.They were easily tamed and I could carry them from desk to desk on a flower in a vase.They would drink drops of coke off my hand.