Camberwell Beauty - Nymphalis antiopa

Alternative names
Mourning Cloak

Known in America as the Mourning Cloak, it is a large and very distinctive butterfly, its deep maroon-red wings have a pale border that is fringed with blue.

Identification difficulty

This butterfly is a great wanderer and is often seen in gardens feeding on rotting fruit, such as plums. The same individual will often remain in the same location for several days. In the spring the adults will feed from Willow flowers and sap runs.

When to see it

Although the adults have been seen in every month of the year, immigrants start to arrive in June and July, with a definite peak of sightings in August and September. Earlier sightings are from individuals emerging from hibernation.

Life History

Eggs are laid in clusters around a twig. There is one brood per year. Some of the adults in Britain go into hibernation and a few survive the winter.

UK Status

This species is a rare migrant to the British Isles. Although there have been sightings from many parts of the British Isles, most records are from eastern counties. In some years there is a relatively-large influx of individuals, the last time was in 2006, when individuals were reported throughout the British Isles.

VC55 Status

A rare migrant to Leicestershire and Rutland with numbers varying from year to year.

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map