Nymphalis antiopa, known as the Mourning Cloak in North America and the Camberwell Beauty in Britain, is a large butterfly native to Eurasia and North America.
These butterflies have a lifespan of 11 to 12 months; one of the longest life-span for any butterfly.
In several European countries with Germanic languages (other than Britain) the name for this butterfly literally translates to “mourning cloak”; such as German “Trauermantel”, Dutch “rouwmantel”, Swedish “sorgmantel”, Finnish “suruvaippa” and Norwegian “sørgekåpe”. This suggests it is a name which came with Scandinavian or German rather than with British settlers, for whom this species would be considerably less familiar.
Migrants arrive in Great Britain most years during summer and autumn, but numbers are usually very low. There is no evidence that the species breeds in Britain; it is thought that mild, wet winters prevent them from surviving there for very long.
We have seen a few by the Vindeln River, alongside our lake and on our island (where we took this photo of one on our bench).