Nymphalis antiopa

Mourning Cloak
Nymphalis antiopa

Long-lived, with a life span of about 10 months, Mourning Cloaks are the first to appear in the spring after hibernating all winter.

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa laying eggs on underside of willow leaf. Robinson Island, near Killarney, Ontario, July 02, 2003.
Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa laying eggs on underside of willow leaf. Robinson Island, near Killarney, Ontario, July 02, 2003.

Females lay eggs from early May to early July in the north using a variety of trees like elm, hackberry, poplar, birch farther north, but the females prefer willow. Eggs are yellow, and turn black before hatching.

 

 

 

 

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa larva on willow. July 08, 2007. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park near Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa larva on willow. July 08, 2007. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park near Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Larvae are called the Spiny Elm caterpillar. When young, they usually stick together, all on the same leaf.

 

 

 

 

 

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa, newly hatched. June 13, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.
Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa, newly hatched. June 13, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.

New batches of adult Mourning Cloaks appear about mid-June in southern Ontario, later up north. They will feed on flower nectar of milkweed, dogbane, boneset, butterfly bush and even boxwood flowers, but they prefer tree sap and rotting fruit.

Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa on watermelon, with friends. Sept 11, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.
Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa on watermelon, with friends. Sept 11, 2013. Wheatley, Ontario.

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