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Mourning Cloak Butterfly on the Bridge to Bridge Trail in Mountjoy Township located in the City of Timmins in Northeastern Ontario Canada


Nymphalis antiopa, known as the Mourning Cloak in North America and the Camberwell Beauty in Britain, is a large butterfly native to Eurasia and North America. See also Anglewing butterflies. The immature form of this species is sometimes known as the spiny elm caterpillar. Other older names for this species include Grand

Surprise and White Petticoat. A powerful flier, this species is sometimes found in areas far from its usual range during migration. It is also the State Insect of Montana. (Wikipedia)

Mourning Cloak butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa) as it emerges from its chrysalis. It was found hanging under a beam on the outside of my San Diego garage and within minutes of this picture, flew away.

Photographed the Mourning Cloak Butterfly taking in the warmth of the sun rays on Prout's Island on Lake Sesekinika in Grenfell Township in Northeastern Ontario Canada

Nearly full grown 45mm larva of Mourning Cloak butterfly. Nymphalis antiopa, known as the Mourning Cloak in North America and the Camberwell Beauty in Britain and Europe, is a large butterfly native to Eurasia and North America. The immature form of this species is sometimes known as the spiny elm caterpillar.


The name, Mourning Cloak, refers to its resemblance to the traditional dark-coloured cloak worn when one was in mourning. This butterfly is the symbol of the U.S. state of Montana.


Thanks for your visit… Any comment you make on my photograph is greatly appreciated and encouraging! But please do not use this image without permission.

My first butterfly of 2019 and what a way to start off the season....with Angelwings! I'd settled into a perfect hidey-hole to await the arrival of bushtits when I caught the flutter of these wings about 12-15 feet above me. Also known as Mourning Cloak, this large butterfly posed for 10 minutes and more, dancing upon her perch, displaying angle after angle. My goodness what a magnificent day!


Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve

Published in the Chilliwack Progress

Mourning Cloak butterfly having just emerged from its 2019-20 over-winter hibernation.


Today, 23 October 2020, I encountered an MC flying around my garden. Rough weather along with a turn towards winter is predicted for tomorrow. This may have encouraged the critter to seek shelter in a log or some other place so it could over-winter until next spring.


To learn more about the curious life cycle and winter survival skill of the Mourning Cloak butterfly, check out:


An Eastern Comma butterfly just emerged from its over-winter hibernation.


Along with the Mourning Cloak butterfly, a common 'first responder' to a warm-ish (61F) afternoon in early spring.


My first BF of the season.


To learn more, go to:

I know a little about butterflies, very little. I can't tell a Monarch from a Viceroy and most swallowtails are the shorebirds of the insect world for me. But I do know something unusual when something like this Mourning Cloak flutters by. I'd never seen anything like it before. Fortunately, it had one thing going for it: I should be able to describe it sufficiently to get an ID.


Sure enough, Nymphalis antiopa, known as the mourning cloak in North America and the Camberwell beauty in Britain, is a large butterfly native to Eurasia and North America. However, Mourning Cloaks tend to be found predominantly in cold, mountainous areas. Maybe that's why this one was on Mt. Rainier AND Mt. Diablo, home turf.


The mourning cloak butterfly is a large, unique butterfly, with special markings that do not match those of any other butterfly, making it easily distinguishable. It can have a wingspan up to four inches. The dorsal side of its wings are a dark maroon, or occasionally brown, with ragged pale-yellow edges. Bright, iridescent blue spots line the black demarcation between the maroon and the yellow. The ventral side of the wings has gray striations which makes it disappear when it perches on the trunk of most trees.


These butterflies have a lifespan of 11 to 12 months, one of the longest lifespans for any butterfly.

I found two of these today in the woods. They are one of the first butterflies to come out in Spring. In Wisconsin they hibernate as adults in cracks, crevices or under rocks in the forest.

Šeirys. Lietuvoje rūšis paplitusi negausiai.

Lyons Creek Trail, Eldorado National Forest, Sierra Nevada mountains, California

Seen at Victoria Park, in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Hiding Amongst The Dead Leaves, A Mourning Cloak Butterfly.

A Sure Sign That Spring Is Well Under Way And One Of The First Butterflies To See In The Spring.


Thanks to VenturaChux for this information - Nymphalis antiopa, known as the mourning cloak in North America and the Camberwell beauty in Britain, is a large butterfly native to Eurasia and North America. The immature form of this species is sometimes known as the spiny elm caterpillar. Wikipedia

A sun-warmed apple

On an autumn afternoon

Makes a yummy lunch

True to its name, I thought a monochrome approach would be most appropriate ... with a touch of selective colour because, after all, it is colour that we readily accept when it comes to images of butterflies.

This butterfly was flitting along on a popular walking trail. It appears to have newly emerged as its wings were in really good shape and as they age the yellow edges become more white. Did you know that Mourning Cloaks are our longest lived butterflies...some of them living up to a year and that they hibernate for the winter? Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario

On my morning walk into the village, this Mourning Cloak Butterfly sitting on the asphalt road surface caught my eye.


I waited to see this unique butterfly spread it's wings to show off the colours on the topside of it's wings but a car came along soon after I was down on my knees to get this shot and my subject took off.

Or at least one section of Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa was, I saw dozens or hundreds. It's been worrisomely warm and dry, the butterflies are arriving with only a few early wildflowers around.


Napa, California. Feb. 2020.

We saw a couple of Mourning Cloak Butterflies on our hike yesterday and I was thinking how one can find this species flying for roughly 8 months out of the year; March – October. An amazing feat for a midwest species braving the extreme weather of Minnesota. I only recently learned that this species can actually live through a MN winter as an adult (butterfly) using hollow logs, woodpiles or loose bark as shelter. A note in my field guide states an individual butterfly can live ten or eleven months. This is one tough butterfly! Polk County, WI 10/05/20

This morning I have added the last four photos taken on 21 August 2020, the first of two fungi forays this season. I did want to add these fungi photos, as this has been such a disappointing mushroom season. The yellow flower was seen at one of the city gardens on 11 September 2020.


Wednesday, 16 September 2020: our temperature at 11:00 am is 8C (windchill 6C), and it is supposed to reach 18C this afternoon. Sunrise is at 7:14 am and sunset is at 7:46 pm. Yesterday was very overcast and smoky from the wildfires on the west coast of US. Smoke is supposed to slowly return today.


Poor lighting was a challenge in the forest on 21 August 2020, but, certainly for me, seeing a handsome Spruce Grouse male was the highlight of the morning. Thank you SO much, Angela, for pointing out where it had flown to, and for your kindness throughout the morning! It was so good to see you guys.


We were so lucky with the weather. It was sunny, but not as hot as it had been on many previous days. A small group of us met up for our first (socially-distanced) fungi foray of the year. Last winter was extremely cold and early summer was very wet. More recently, we had very hot, dry weather, but September is definitely feeling like fall. Unfortunately, these weather patterns seem to have resulted in very few fungi to be found, unlike last year, which was an absolutely amazing season for fungi. Last year, 2019, our first snowfall was on 28 September, so we are running out of time for any fungi to grow.


Despite the lack of fungi, there were other things to catch our attention. As well as the Spruce Grouse male, we saw Butterflies (Mourning Cloaks and an Anglewing/Comma) and Bald-faced Hornets that were feeding on the sap from the holes/sapwells created by a Sapsucker on the trunk of one of the trees.


A few of the wildflowers we came across included Hooded ladies tresses and Grass-of-Parnassus. There were lots of Asters everywhere, too.


After a most enjoyable morning with friends, I stopped at a different forested area, just to quickly check if there were any fungi. Last year, there were lots of beautiful ones (some of which I still haven't posted). However, practically nothing. other than several polypores. As I was driving into the parking lot, a female Mule Deer and her still-spotted fawn crossed the road in front of me. Always a joy to see.


Closer to home, I drove into Priddis and called in at Jane's Cafe/Water's Edge Pub to pick up a tub of their chili and a tub of mushroom soup. Both delicious.


Mourning Cloak Butterfly on an Echinacea flower in my garden.

Probably because of proximity, but it's rather funny that I've always combined Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons as one huge park ... like Sequoia and Kings Canyon in California. Early May 2014, plenty of snow, but completely unexpected sights like coming around a campground corner at Coulter Bay and not having a lens to capture the mountains right in front of us. I suppose if I had a fisheye, I might have been able to get the whole scene, but it wouldn't have captured the three mountains in front of us. I can't even express the view in words, but we spend more than four hours just taking in the lake, the peaks, the one Mourning Cloak Butterfly (which took two hours to chase down before he lighted in an evergreen), or the gang of gray jays which entertained and robbed us during the entire stay. If there's anything positive about not going in 2018, it's that it was very warm and I think that the whole scape would be entirely different. I think we were just very lucky to have had such grandeur in this, my seventh visit to Yellowstone and the Tetons. (But I still don't have the barn and mountains!)


"Pre-season" because this was one day before Coulter Bay was open for boating, fishing, and picniking tourists. From what I understand, it's been open for over a week this early in 2018...

This Mourning Cloak is about to tackle another blossom. I love it when they get a dusting of pollen.

"C'est un grand papillon au vol puissant, avec une envergure variable allant de 45 à plus de 90 mm selon les zones géographiques et les individus, mais le plus fréquemment de l'ordre de 65 à 75 mm. Le dimorphisme sexuel est faible, la femelle est plus grande que le mâle. Son dessus est violet foncé avec une bande marginale jaune devenue blanche après hibernation, doublée d'une série complète de taches marginales bleues. Son dessous noirâtre comporte aussi une bande marginale jaune, blanche après hibernation."

...selon Wikipedia


According to Wikipedia:

"The mourning cloak butterflies are distributed broadly around the world. They are commonly found in North America and northern Eurasia, as well as in Mexico.[ Mourning cloak butterflies are prevalent throughout North America. They can usually be found in hardwood forests, though they have been found in virtually all habitats. They may also be found as far as the northern part of South America, though they are typically not seen as frequently in southern states such as Florida, Louisiana, or Texas. They are occasionally seen in the more temperate places in Asia, and a few have even been seen in Japan. However, the mourning cloaks tend to be found predominantly in cold, mountainous areas."


South Yuba River State Park, California

Mourning Cloak on the Overland Commemorative Trail, Nevada Co, California on 7 August 2017.

Mourning Cloak butterfly in our garden

Mourning Cloak Butterfly on Columbine flower from the yard in PA.


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Orion is my 7yo Vizsla butterfly finding buddy. In this image, you see him waiting for my next command as we search the forest for Mourning Cloak butterflies. Orion is trained to respond to hand signals for field direction (a'la Delmar Smith's, silent command system ). On this day, we did not find any.


Yesterday (Easter Sunday, 27 March), we returned to find two, but they were flying and did not land. So no 'coming-out party' photos. When I warms-up in a few days, we'll try again.


Finally, yesterday in these woods, to my (and Orion's) surprise, he locked point on a mature male Wild Turkey. Just I turned to get a closer look, it flushed with a loud BOOM/SQUAWK. Imagine a 4 foot diameter ball of feathers shot out of a cannon as it turned on its afterburners, instantly clearing the tree-tops of this mature Oak/Maple forest and trimming its wings as it sail off to land safely in a distant Buckthorn thicket. I was caught totally off guard, so (again) no photos. Very impressive !

Overwintering adult Mourning Cloaks are one of the first butteries to come out when the temperatures get warm. It was a beautiful 70 degrees and this one was enjoying the day after a long winter's rest.


Green Ridge State Forest

Allegany County, Maryland

Came across this Mourning Cloak

(Nymphalis antiopa) sunning it's self in the bush.

rock painting by Joanna Key

from my heart to yours like bubbles

carrying magic.”

Rita Said.


You love nature and nature loves you back. And I love you both.


Happy birthday my love!!!


Mourning Cloak butterfly (on my husband shoulder) from Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Arcadia. California.

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