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Santa Barbara Field Guides Butterflies

     Nymphalis antiopa
     Mourning Cloak


Size: wingspread 2.75-3.5 in.
Recognition: Beautiful and distinctive butterfly; very dark (almost black) wings that have blue spot row next to outer yellow wing border; underside with camouflage coloring of brown with lighter wing edges.
Flight period: Believed to be the longest lived butterfly (10-12 months); adults emerge in June, are briefly active in summer, overwintering until their main flight period in early spring. It is possible for new adults to emerge and fly alongside individuals from the previous year's brood!
Hostplants: Willows, (Salix - Salicaceae), aspen and cottonwood (Populus - Salicaceae), elm (Ulmus - Ulmaceae), and hackberry (Celtis- Ulmaceae) are used.
Habitat: A very widespread butterfly, it can be seen in such settings as urban parks, mountains, and water/stream areas.
Distribution: The range of Nymphalis antiopa includes most of North America, including parts of Mexico and much of Canada.

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