Butterfly mourning

Domain: Eukaryotes

Kingdom: Animals

Subdomain: Eumetazoi

No rank: Double-sided symmetrical

No rank: Primary

No rank: Shedding

No rank: Panarthropoda

Type: Arthropods

Subtype: Tracheal Breathing

Overclass: Six-legged

Class: Insects

Subclass: Winged Insects

Infraclass: Newwing Insects

Treasure: Insects with a complete transformation

Squad: Amphiesmenoptera

Order: Lepidoptera

Suborder: Proboscis

Infrastructure: Diverse Butterflies

Superfamily: Mace

Family: Nymphalids

Subfamily: Nymphalinae

Genus: Multi-flower

View: Butterfly mourning

Butterflies have always been associated with something bright, tender and sunny. However, the name is butterfly mourning, does not fit any of these descriptions. The insect owes its sad name to the dark coloring of the wings. His coloring is memorable, so many childhood memories are associated with this particular moth.

Origin of view and description

Photo: Butterfly Mourning

The species belongs to the nymphalids family butterflies. The Russian name for Lepidoptera is associated with the dark color of the insect. In the west, the butterfly is better known under the name "mourning mantle", in France its name translates as "sorrow", in Poland they call it the "gardener-complainant." The Latin name Antiopa is due to the queen of the Amazons of Antiope.

Interesting fact: Naturalist Carl Linney gave the name to the butterfly in honor of the daughter of the god Niktya. She gave birth to twins from Zeus, but was afraid of her father's fury and fled to the Peloponnese. Niktey ordered his brother to find and kill his daughter. He persuaded her sons to tie the runaway to the horns of a ferocious bull. At the last moment, the twins learned that in front of them their mother and the murder did not materialize.

According to one version, the mourners got their name due to the similarity with the color of the cape of professional mourners, a common profession of the 15th century in Europe. After 300 years, the moth became a popular symbol of mourning among European nations.

There are many subspecies that are temperature dependent. Under the influence of extremely low or, conversely, high temperatures, many forms arise, such as, for example, hygiaea Heydenr. The subspecies lack blue eyes and a light border wider along the edge of the wings.

Appearance and features

Photo: Butterfly Mourning Day

The description of the funeral home is much more colorful than its name. Background of wings of cherry or dark brown color. The outer edge of the wings is sinuous, with teeth, bordered by a wide yellow stripe. Along it is a series of blue or blue spots. At the top of the front wings are two faded yellow spots.

  • wingspan - 7-9 centimeters;
  • front wing length - 3-4.5 centimeters.

The lower parts of the wings are dark. In wintering individuals, the rim is much lighter. This is due to the fact that the color fades during the winter. Lighter color is not associated with seasonal forms. In butterflies living in the Far East, the border remains yellow. Sexual dimorphism is not expressed.

Interesting fact: The color of the moth depends on the weather conditions in which the pupa developed. Very high or ultra-low temperatures cause shock in her and hormonal changes occur in the body. The brown tone becomes darker, and blue strokes may be absent.

For the nymphalidae family, the protective color is characteristic of the reverse side of the wings. At the mourn, this side is brown in color with black strokes and a light border. This color serves as a disguise for the moth against the background of trunks and tree branches.

The body of the insect is oval in shape of dark brown color, there are three pairs of thin legs on which taste buds are present. On the head there are long club-shaped antennae as a sense of touch and proboscis. The moth has 4 eyes: 2 of them are in the parietal zone and 2 on the sides.

Where does the mourning butterfly live?

Photo: Butterfly mourning from the Red Book

The species is widespread in the Palearctic. Moths are used to living in temperate climates. Therefore, in tropical areas they can not be found. Insects do not climb beyond 68 degrees north latitude. Mourning plants live in England, Norway, Germany. Migratory individuals were recorded on the shores of the Arctic Ocean.

The species is common in Japan, throughout Europe and Asia, in North America, in northern Africa. Does not appear in Greece, in southern Spain and on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It lives in the mountains of the Caucasus and the Carpathians, with the exception of the Black Sea coast. The species is absent on the Crimean peninsula, but you can meet vagrants.

Insects were artificially brought to North America, from there butterflies settled from Mexico to Canada. Previously, the species lived throughout Europe, but after the end of World War II, their number fell sharply. In the tundra zone, only migratory individuals are found, in forest-steppe and steppe - only in forest valleys.

With the onset of warm spring days, moths circle in the clearing, in gardens and meadows, on the banks of water bodies, on roadsides. For wintering, they look for reliable shelters, and when it gets warmer, they go outside to find food and breeding. They can be found at altitudes of up to 2000 m. Life expectancy under favorable conditions is up to one year.

What does the mourning butterfly eat?

Photo: Butterfly Mourning

Insects prefer overripe fruits to nectar of flowers - mainly plums and apples. Moths are very attracted to the smell of sweet and sour fermentation. Clusters of these creatures can be found on damaged tree trunks, on which the tree sap has come out. Butterflies especially like birch sap.

Having drunk the fermented juice, the moths become dispersed and lose their vigilance, therefore they become prey for birds and small rodents. Mourning plants sit on flowers and field weeds. Creatures cannot receive a lack of vitamins and minerals from flower pollen, therefore they make up for animals from rotting carrion and excrement.

It is very important for moths to get enough moisture, so it’s vital for them to live close to water bodies. At the caterpillar stage, insects feed on fodder plants.

Their diet includes:

  • hawthorn;
  • rosehip;
  • maple;
  • Linden;
  • alder;
  • willow;
  • poplar;
  • nettle.

Often, beautiful creatures can be found sitting on the ground near fruitful trees trying to enjoy overripe fruits. Often they choose cracked fruits to easily get juice from them. Caterpillars spend most of their time searching for food. Before hibernation, they eat intensely, trying to eat as much vegetation as possible.

Features of character and lifestyle

Photo: Butterfly Mourning Day

With the onset of spring, butterflies get out of secluded places, bask in the sun and seek food for themselves. In Russia, they can be found only from July-August to October. When the nights become cool, insects begin to look for places for wintering - cracks in stumps and trunks to protect themselves from the cold, cellars of apartment buildings.

The dark color of the wings helps insects easily hide in the grass. In early spring, only females can be met. They lay their eggs and die immediately. These individuals are able to travel huge distances. Usually, migration occurs in the fall in search of refuge.

Interesting fact: By mourning you can determine the cardinal points. When the moth sits down to rest, it folds its wings and turns its back to the sun. In the morning, the wings are turned east, at noon to the south, and in the evening they point west.

Mourning plants appear in one generation. Subspecies have not been studied, but there are a lot of them. The brightness of their color depends on the time of year and habitat. Leaving the cocoon in the spring, the insect will have a dimmer color. Immediately after birth, they migrate. In hot weather, flights take several days. They depend on weather conditions.

Moths can live until June next year, and in the mountains until August. In spring, butterflies live in places far from places of birth. In winter, many do not withstand frost and die. From the beginning of summer the number of males prevails, then the inequality is eliminated.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Butterfly mourning in nature

Reproduction of the mourning plant differs little from other moths. Pheromones stand out from the back of the abdomen of females, with which they attract males. The mating process lasts quite a long time - from 30 minutes to several hours in the habitat. Males guard the territory from rivals.

Clutches number about 100 eggs. Eggs are attached to the leaves or stems of fodder plants. Moths fasten masonry around birch branches, forming rings. Caterpillars hatch in June. At birth, their length is only 2 millimeters. Caterpillars are black with white and red spots.

The brood is held by a group. Caterpillars go through 5 stages of growing up. Shedding occurs on each of them. The Amazon queens eat their hide. To the last stage, their length reaches 5.4 centimeters. Before pupation, individuals creep. Pupae are mounted on branches of small trees upside down. Their length is about 3 centimeters. In this condition, it will be 11-12 days.

A few days after birth, insects fall into diapause. Until the end of August they are in energy-saving mode. After this, the moths begin to feed intensely in order to accumulate a supply of energy for hibernation. With the onset of the first cold weather, they hide and fall asleep.

Natural enemies of mourning butterflies

Photo: Butterfly mourning from the Red Book

At all stages of development, the insect surrounds many enemies. Moth eggs are not averse to feasting on spiders, beetles or ants. Adults suffer from some species of birds, reptiles or small rodents. Although Lepidoptera have a masking color that turns them into a dried leaf, many individuals do not survive until spring, when they are found in shelters.

Caterpillars suffer from rider insects, hymenopteran, which lay their eggs directly in their body. Pests also lay eggs on fodder plants. Caterpillars eat leaves with clutches and parasitoids develop in the body of future butterflies, eating them from the inside. Riders come into the world already formed.

Among the parasites are egg, larval, egg-larval, pupal, larval-pupal types. Some of them can completely paralyze the victim or separate parts of their body. Organisms live and develop at the expense of butterflies. As a result of their life activity, lepidopterans die or become sterile.

Spiders and mantises prey on moths from an ambush. They are waiting for beautiful creatures on the flowers or catch them in the web. Among the enemies are some species of wasps and ground beetles. Ktyr and dragonflies prey on a mourning during the flight. Toads and lizards lie in wait for butterflies on the ground and near ponds.

Population and species status

Photo: Butterfly Mourning

Before the Second World War, the number of moths was quite high. Lepidoptera were common throughout Europe. For reasons still unknown after the war, the population has declined significantly. At the moment, the level is low, but relatively stable.

In the late 1960s, there was a massive surge in the number of insects in the Moscow region, in 1970 in Novosibirsk, in 1985 in the Tula region, and in relatively recent times, in 2008 in Chelyabinsk. Throughout its history, the species has experienced several fluctuations in numbers in the direction of reduction or increase.

The downward trend in the population mainly depends on the destruction of the natural habitat of the mournful. In the 1990s, moths were found in more than 20 natural and artificially created territories of the Moscow region. During this period, it was possible to meet individuals in residential areas, the Kuzminsky forest, on the Krylatsky hills.

In the 1990s, the number recovered and even increased slightly, but it was rare to meet her within the MKAD. Since the beginning of the 2000s, only five habitats have remained. If before there were a lot of individuals in Tsaritsyno, then after 2005 how many territories were not examined, the population could not be detected.

Insects are important elements in the food chain. Larvae and pupae play an important role in the nutrition of birds. Thanks to adults, rare species of small mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles survive. They play an important role in pollination of flowers.

On built-up areas, mourning plants lack food and places for wintering. Due to the drying of trees along the roads, lack of water and moist soil, reduction of green spaces, regular destruction of old hollow trees, a decrease in the number of insects is observed.

Protection of moth butterflies

Photo: Butterfly Mourning Day

The species is listed in the Red Book of the Smolensk region. He was assigned the 3rd category as a rare one with a limited number. In 2001, it is listed in the Red Book of the Moscow Region. From 1978 to 1996 he was guarded in the capital. The main habitats are registered in protected areas.

To preserve the species, it is necessary to maintain the nature of the natural habitats of the mourning, which include the presence of glades, aspen, birch forests, willows. Sanitary felling of emergency trees must be limited. In residential areas and landscaped areas, it is necessary to ensure the presence of hollow and short-cut, fruitful trees.

In some territories, the deep pruning of poplars has been stopped. Protective measures include cleaning the air and soil to a safe level necessary to maintain woody vegetation. The butterfly should be provided with a sufficient amount of clean ponds and prevent draining of the swamps.

Every year, an increasing number of countries oppose the uncontrolled capture of Lepidoptera. In some powers, imprisonment is threatened with illegal fishing for moths. Some states give monetary rewards for information on the illegal capture of beautiful creatures. Catching mourning is prohibited in many countries of the world, including Russia.

Butterfly mourning - a beautiful, majestic and exquisite butterfly. Its color is hard not to notice. If a person meets her on his way, he has only warm and bright feelings. The Queen of the Amazons does not justify her sad name, because she looks really majestic, bright and elegant.

Watch the video: Butterfly Host Plants: Willows & Mourning Cloaks--Ep. 21 (February 2020).

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