Butterflies of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance

Common Name begins with:
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Scientific Name begins with:
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Once on a species account page, clicking on the "View PDF" link will show the flight data for that species, for each of the three regions of the state.
Other information, such as high counts and earliest/latest dates, can also been seen on the PDF page.

Related Species in NYMPHALIDAE:
<<       >>
comNameMourning Cloak by Tom Howard => Falls Lake SRA, 2003-05-28
[View PDF]
Click to enlarge
[Google Images]     BoA [Images ]
sciNameNymphalis antiopa
Link to BAMONA species account.
mapClick on a county for list of all database records for the species in that county.
distributionDISTRIBUTION: Statewide, from the mountains to the Outer Banks. Though no records yet for scattered Coastal Plain counties, likely is present in all counties. It was finally recorded from well-worked Brunswick and Onslow counties, along the coast, in 2011.
abundanceABUNDANCE: Despite its wide range in NC, it is generally uncommon. It is somewhat more numerous in the mountains (where it may be locally fairly common) than in the Piedmont, and it is rare to very uncommon in the central and eastern Coastal Plain.
flightFLIGHT PERIOD: This butterfly has the longest life-span (brood) of any species in the eastern United States, up to about 11 months (late May to late April, on average, in NC). The species overwinters as an adult, with these butterflies on the wing on warm winter days; adults are seen mostly from mid-February to mid-June; worn individuals are seen into late April. The new brood is on the wing from mid-May into mid-June downstate, and until mid- or late July in the mountains. Adults then aestivate/hibernate until late winter of the next year, though they may fly sporadically in fall (generally in October). Some dates refer to migratory individuals. The highest counts in the state are all from late May, when new individuals are emerging.
habitatHABITAT: Most individuals are seen inside or along the margins of hardwood forests. Migrants, however, may be seen flying across roads and other open country. Mourning Cloaks are often seen flying through forests that do not have full leaf cover -- early or mid-spring before leaves have completely emerged, or October when leaves are beginning to drop. They may be seen along forest trails and dirt roads through forests, but they are not typically found in open country.
plantsFOOD AND NECTAR PLANTS: The foodplants are various trees and shrubs -- willows (Salix spp.), birches (Betula spp.), elms (Ulmus spp.), cottonwoods (Populus spp.), etc. The species does not normally nectar at flowers; instead, it feeds on sap, decaying fruit, moist spots on trails and roads, and so forth.
commentsCOMMENTS: This is a common, widespread, and familiar butterfly in the northeastern states, but in NC it is not common, though it may be locally numerous in the mountains and Piedmont. It is not one of the butterflies that the average person will encounter, except for those spending considerable time walking through upland woods in late winter and spring. It is one of the more solitary butterflies in NC, and even seeing more than several a day is a rare occurrence.
state_statusS5
fed_statusG5
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Links to other butterfly galleries: [Cook] [Lynch] [Pippen] [Pugh]
Photo Gallery for Mourning Cloak
Photo by: Paul Hart
Comment: Raven Rock State Park, Harnett Co.; 2007-Apr-29
Mourning Cloak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Nancy Baldwin
Comment: chrysalis, July 2006
Mourning Cloak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Dennis M Forsythe
Comment: May 9, 2011. McCormick Co., SC
Mourning Cloak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Dennis M Forsythe
Comment: May 23, 2016. Laurens Co., SC
Mourning Cloak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Will Stuart
Comment: May 22, 2020. Anson County
Mourning Cloak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Will Stuart
Comment: May 22, 2020. Anson County
Mourning Cloak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Comment: May 19, 2012. Mecklenburg Co., West Branch Nature Preserve
Mourning Cloak - Click to enlarge
Photo by: Paul Scharf
Comment: Medoc Mountain State Park, Halifax Co., 2009-March-09
Mourning Cloak - Click to enlarge