Species of the Week: Mourning Cloak

Welcome back!

For this week's species highlight, I'll be giving the spotlight to one of my favorite local butterfly species, the mourning cloak. It looks like we're in store for a couple of warmer days this week, so hopefully we will begin to see these beautiful insects flying around.

The mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) is an easily recognizable butterfly with a unique appearance that resembles no other species. The upper sides of this butterfly's wings are a rich maroon, with pale yellow edges and iridescent blue spots. In contrast, the under sides of a mourning cloak's wings are a drab grayish-brown that resembles the bark of a tree, serving as some very impressive camoflauge when the wings are folded up.

Mourning cloaks are some of the earliest butterflies to emerge in the spring. This is due to the fact that this species overwinters as an adult, unlike the majority of lepidopterans (butterflies and moths) that overwinter as caterpillars or pupae. This also means that mourning cloaks live far longer than most butterflies, with an adult lifespan that lasts about a year. As soon as the sun comes out, these butterflies are ready to emerge from their winter hiding spots.

Below are some images I took of a mourning cloak butterfly found in the woods behind the International Business School on campus!

Publicado el febrero 13, 2023 11:33 TARDE por jackthropod jackthropod


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