Mourning Cloak Butterflies Emerging
With the recent warm temperatures, Mourning Cloak butterflies have been seen gliding through fields and leafless woods. Unlike most butterflies, Eastern Commas, Question Marks, Red Admirals and Mourning Cloaks overwinter as adults, seeking shelter in protected spots such as under loose bark. When spring arrives, they slip out from their winter quarters and take to the air.
Mourning Cloaks resemble dead leaves so much that from a distance the entire insect seems to disappear when it lands on the forest floor. Up close you can see the velvety texture of the wing scales, said to resemble the clothing mourners used to wear; hence, their common name. Mourning cloaks live up to ten months — an impressive life span for a butterfly. As they age, the yellow border of their wings fades to an off-white.
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