Mourning Cloak

After a winter’s hibernation, the Mourning Cloaks emerge from their nooks and crannies to fly swiftly into the sun. Give them a moment, though, and they may perch. It’s their natural antifreeze that keeps their near-insubstantial existence intact through the cold of winter.
Is there a more appropriate name for a butterfly in a cemetery? In the UK, these are called Camberwell Beauties and are rare strays from mainland Europe, where many languages name them “mourning cloak.” It seems awfully opulent mourning garb, this dark, velvety, Burgundy brown with gold trim.

Adults prefer to feed on tree sap. Nymphalis antiopa caterpillar hosts include “black willow (Salix nigra), weeping willow (S. babylonica), and silky willow (S. sericea); also American elm (Ulmus americana), cottonwood (Populus deltoides), aspen (P. tremuloides), paper birch (Betula papyrifera), and hackberry (Celtis occidentalis). Source.

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