An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Mourning Cloaks Surviving On Sap

4-25-17 mourning cloak IMG_2827

Who doesn’t celebrate at the sight of a Mourning Cloak butterfly gliding through the woods on soft, spring breezes? Because the adults spend the winter hibernating behind loose bark, Mourning Cloaks are among the first butterflies to take flight in the spring. Most butterflies overwinter as eggs or pupae inside chrysalises, and have to complete metamorphosis before they can take to the air.

Surviving in March and April, when there is little, if any, nectar to be found, is challenging. Mourning Cloaks sustain themselves with the sap that exudes from broken tree branches or wounds in tree trunks. Oaks are their preferred source of sap. When they find some, they walk down the trunk to the sap and feed head downward (see photo).

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3 responses

  1. Cheron barton

    Seen any??

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    April 25, 2017 at 8:02 am

  2. Dudley Carlson

    I LOVE these small, specific details and the great photos that accompany them. Thank you, Mary, for sharpening our awareness, and for your own keen attention to detail.

    April 25, 2017 at 12:38 pm

  3. collette59

    We and the Mourning Cloaks need a change in our weather in so. Maine!

    April 25, 2017 at 10:08 pm

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