Nymphalis antiopa

Nymphalis antiopa

Photo Life History: Nymphalis antiopa

Habitat:  Mountain Canyons; Pinyon Juniper; Agricultural Areas; Valley Wet Meadows; Mountain Hilltops; Valley Lakes & Rivers; Desert Washes; Lower Sonoran Desert; Urban-Suburban;

Host Plants:  Salix amygdaloides; Salix exigua; Ulmus pumila; Celtis reticulata; Salix babylonica

Suitable Lab Host Plants: Populus angustifolia; Populus tremuloides  (Almost any elm, hackberry, willow, or cottonwood.)

How to Find Female Butterflies:  Click hereCaution:  Collecting live females for eggs in the fall or early spring is unproductive because they have not yet mated.  The time to collect post-diapause females is not until spring when host plants are leaved out.  (See notes below.)

Caring for Live Female Butterflies:  Nectaring techniques

Methods of Female Oviposition:   Open Screen Cages; Potted Plant Sleeves (Females prefer to lay large clutches of eggs around the tree stems)

How to Find Eggs:  Look around the stems or twigs of trees.  Not very productive unless adults are abundant.

How to Hatch Eggs:  Consolidate eggs into one container.

How to Find Caterpillars in the Field: Look for Caterpillar Strip Patterns.  Caterpillars feed gregariously and can create very noticeable strip patterns on the host plant. 

How to Find Pupae in the Field:  Larvae will sometimes pupate on the tree; but, not reliably so.

Caterpillar setups:  Open terrariums; Open Bucket; Netted Sleeve.  Click here to watch a video on how to raise mourning cloaks using netted sleeves.

Larva to Pupa:  Caterpillar silks to leaf or twig; creates and attaches cremaster; hanging as a J before pupating.

Number of Broods per Year:  1-3

Overwintering Stage:  Adult

Overwintering Strategies:

Post-Hibernation Strategies: 

Avoiding Diapause Techniques:  

Disease Prevention:  Change out host plant and remove frass every four to five days in an open bucket or open terrarium setup. 

Emergence:  Emergence Container

Field Notes:  Post-diapause females collected in the fall or late winter/early spring usually have not yet mated.  (Unless, you found a female in the sunbelt where willows have already leafed out.)  I was fortunate to collect a female on 30 May 2004 in American Fork Canyon, Utah County, Utah, that was flying around the interior of a willow tree next to the river.  She obviously had mated and was looking to lay eggs.  When I sleeved her on my willow tree, she laid a large clutch of eggs around a narrow stem of the tree.