Status:    rare resident

Flights: ?, Jan-Dec

Distribution/known sites in Monterey County:  a few scattered sites in lowlands and foothill cyns: Garland Ranch, Carmel Valley Rd., Old Stage Rd., Big Creek Reserve, Hasting’s Reserve, Hatton Cyn

Habitats:  wandering and adaptable: forests, fields, streamsides, parks, yards

Host plants:  willows, cottonwoods

Adult foodsap, rotten fruit, minerals/moisture from soil

Conservation: secure globally


  1.   flight a series of quick wingbeats interspersed with flat-winged glides

  2.   males produce a soft “click” with wings when taking flight

  3.   basks on ground, plays dead when attacked like other nymphalines

  4.   adults live 10-12 mos., hatch in early summer, may fly up to 70 km from hatch site, estivate in July, wake in Aug-Sep, feed, then hibernate in logs, woodpiles, loose bark

  5.   some southward migration or altitudinal movements in west

  6.   tolerates cold by “antifreeze” glycerols in blood

  7.   found in Europe & Asia, in England called Camberwell Beauty

  8.   larger southward


Mourning cloak

Nymphalis antiopa

Life history facts

egg: laid in groups circling twigs of host plant

larva: live in communal web, feed together on young leaves


adult:  males patrol forest clearings, roads for fems., perch on hilltops from late morning on territories up to 300 sq. m., mate in spring; overwinters

soberanes cyn trail