Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Genus: Nymphalis
Species: antiopa


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Barling, Arkansas
Cave Springs, Arkansas
Granite Bay, California
Long Beach, California
San Diego, California (4 reports)
Whittier, California
Pueblo, Colorado
Galva, Illinois
La Grange Park, Illinois
Park Forest, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Coatesville, Indiana
Atalissa, Iowa
Yale, Iowa
Denham Springs, Louisiana
Royal Oak, Michigan
Barnum, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota (2 reports)
Hudson, New Hampshire
Cary, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Grants Pass, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Fort Worth, Texas
Katy, Texas
Keller, Texas
Magna, Utah
Bruceton Mills, West Virginia
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Pulaski, Wisconsin
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Apr 8, 2019, OGRODNIK from Granite Bay, CA wrote:

I first saw one of these beauties when it flew into my Sacramento area home one cold rainy winter night this past winter after being attracted by the door light.I thought it was a moth at first but then I saw the lovely markings. I caught it hovering by a lamp and took it to my greenhouse where it spent a few days quietly somewhere then woke up and wanted to leave so I let it go outside. I have seen what I think to be the same butterfly over the past few months as it comes into my garden occasionally now that the weather has warmed. They do not seem to be common here.


On Jan 20, 2018, AFinSD from San Diego, CA wrote:

I have been fascinated with this particular butterfly since childhood. In school, our class raised one of these butterflies from a catepillar. At the time, the teacher did not know what kind of butterfly it was though, and it took me years until I finally found a book that identified it for me.

This butterfly is commonly seen in L.A., Orange County, and in San Diego where my spouse and I currently live. They are among my favorite butterflies.


On Aug 23, 2015, 2QandLearn from Menifee, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

The Mourning Cloak was a regular visitor to our yard when I was growing up in Pomona, CA. However, it was them in catermpillar mode which became so numerous as the years passed, that they practically defoliated our American Elm tree!

I used to gather their prickly 'pillars' --there were literally thousnds upn thousands of them-- into my red wagon, with a shoe box on its side, and furnish them with new leaves periodically.

One year I put a mature caterpillar in a jar, poked holes in its lid, and left it on our shaded patio. As the days rolled by I was able to watch it spin its cocoon . . . and later, to emerge from it, allow to dry its wings, then fly away!

The Mourning Cloak is thus a Dear Old Friend of mine!

I was sad when my D... read more


On Sep 4, 2014, Tired_Yeti from Katy, TX wrote:

First saw this butterfly on my property Labor Day weekend (2014) within 24 hours of planting a Mexican Lime tree. The lime had flowers on it and I saw the butterfly head straight over to it and start fluttering around it. I'm assuming the fragrance of the lime tree attracted it. Very large butterfly! Eye catching!


On Mar 8, 2013, themikesmom from Concord, NC wrote:

What an absolutely Beautiful Butterfly..its coloring and patterning on its wings is pure magic!


On Jun 27, 2011, natureguyfrog from San Diego, CA wrote:

I live in San Diego approximate to where Sunset zones 23 and 24 meet otherwise considered zone 10 or 11 near the junction of 805 and 94 situated on a canyon/ preserve that is a natural corridor to more interior areas. There are differing micro climates even within a couple of square miles of the area where I live. Black willows can be found in this area as well as Cottonwoods. Scrub oaks are found quite commonly in the immediate area which I assume may provide some of their adult food.

My observations and sitings in the last 25 yrs. here of the Mourning Cloak have been quite infrequent until the last two or three weeks -that is from the first week of June to yesterday June 26. I was seeing at least one butterfly daily during this period until yesterday when there were two wh... read more


On Apr 15, 2011, weedsfree from Magna, UT (Zone 7a) wrote:

I disturbed one of these this morning while making my rounds checking on plants. He was sun bathing for most of the morning in my back yard.


On Jun 29, 2009, tabasco from Cincinnati (Anderson Twp), OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

The Mourning Cloak is one of the first butterflies that visits our yard in springtime, often flying alone along the woodland edge and through our garden, I suppose looking for black willows and elms, two of their hosts plants common in our area.

They are also fond of sap from maples, decomposing fruit and animal skat and enjoy those sources for food much more than nectar flowers.

Mourning Cloaks can be long lived, hibernating in winter and spending some time 'aestivating' during the hottest months of summer.


On Jan 23, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

A strongly solitary common butterfly, with two together very rare as they are territorial. The adult form comes out most commonly around the edge of the growing season, even flying on warm days of 50 degree during very early to early spring, even in Minnesota.

Other insects may even fly in 40 degree, mostly flies but also include some unidentifed insects like in the lacewing family or uncommon families that flies and mate before birds even dream about eating insects. In fall leftover hardy bugs (bugs that will tolerate frosts) like worker german yellowjacket, housefly, and asian ladybugs continue to flies during warm days before the first continuous hard freeze. That is not even unusual or uncommon, just not noticed by most people.

They are the first large... read more


On Jul 24, 2006, okus from (Zone 8b) wrote:

2 7/8 "- 3 3/8" Wing margins ragged. Above rich brownish maroon with a creamy yellow band bordered inwardly by brilliant blue spots all along both wings. Below ash black with a row of blue-green to blue-grey chevrons just inside a dirty yellow border.

Absolutely unique - there are no other similar butterflies.