Mourning Cloak - Nymphalis antiopa
This summer, I have been seeing high numbers of Mourning Cloak butterflies in and around our yard. Some years I don't recall seeing them at all. Last year it was all about Red Admirals, but this year their numbers seem low and the Mourning Cloaks are having their moment.
I don't know much about butterflies, but I am trying to learn more, and I find them surprisingly difficult to paint well. At the very least I am trying to plant native flowers that encourage their visiting my yard. Seems to be working, because I have noticed a nice variety over the last couple of summers.
Both Red Admirals and Mourning Cloaks apparently belong to a family of butterflies referred to as "Brushfoots". Adult Mourning Cloaks can be longer lived than other butterfly species, topping out around 10 months. They hibernate through the winter and are one the first butterflies species to emerge in the spring to mate. The larvae like elms, hackberries, and cottonwoods; trees that we have a lot of in our neighborhood.
Happy Monday to you : )