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Camberwell Beauty

Nymphalis antiopa

  • Name also: Mourning Cloak (USA)
  • Family: Brushfooted Butterflies – Nymphalidae
  • Subfamily: True Brushfoots – Nymphalinae
  • Wing span: Large, 60–71 mm (2.36–2.76 in.). Females larger than males.
  • Wing upper side: Dark brown, wing margin yellow (young butterfly) to white (overwintered early spring flyer), inside of margin black strip withblue blotches. Leading edge of forewing with two white blotches.
  • Wing underside: Blackish brown, margin white–pale yellow. Leading edge of forewing with two unclear white blotches.
  • Habitat: Open forests and bogs. Also cultural environments.
  • Flying time: April–mid-July (overwintering generation), then August–September.
  • Overwintering form: Adult butterfly.
  • Larval foodplant: Birches (Betula) and willows (Salix), sometimes even aspen (Populus tremula).

The Camberwell beauty can be found all over Finland, although it is rare in northernmost Lapland. The dark upper surface of the wings and their pale edge makes this relatively large butterfly easy to recognise. In spring (early summer) males defend their territory, preferably hillocks and forest margins and clearings, while they wait for females to arrive. The females lay their eggs in clusters around the branches of nutritious plants. The caterpillars live together as a colony on the host plant.

In late summer the second generation thrives especially well on birch trunks that are leaking sap, sucking it day after day to survive the winter and wake up in the spring in as good condition as possible.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same subfamily

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