names for mourning cloak

Bastiaan Notebaert bnotebaert at
Thu Apr 13 22:51:38 EDT 2000

N. antiopa is called in Dutch 'rouwmantel' and is indeed considered extinct 
in Flanders (north Belgium) en the Netherlands.
However, last years there were again some observations in these regions. 
These came after an east-European invasion in 1995. In 1997 I saw a lot of 
it near my home (Gent, East-Flanders, Belgium) in July. Probably specimens 
coming from the 1995 invasion reproduced themselves and are spreading in 
Flanders. But the numbers are so low that its doubtful that they can really 
settle, also because the required biotope isn't present any more.
In South Belgium (Walloon) we have more and larger forsts and I can conform 
that the buuterfly is still present in the valley of the Viroin river near 
france (province Namur). Also in the french Lorraine and Argon this species 
is still present.
As its doubtful this butterfly has any stable populations in flanders it 
belongs to the working area of the Belgium Migrating lepidoptera Survey 
(BTO). You can contact them on their website and probably find also 
information on first observations in Europe for 2000 of this species:

Bastiaan Notebaert
Flanders, belgium
bnotebaert at
bastiaan.notebaert at

----Original Message Follows----
From: Pierre Zagatti <zagatti at>
Reply-To: zagatti at
To: leps-l at
Subject: Re: names for mourning cloak
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 16:14:10 +0200

I think the French name 'morio' comes from the dark color of the butterfly.
French mineralogists use the same word for black varieties of quartz. Now
words meaning _dark_ and _strange_ generally coevolve in the history of
languages :-(

As many, many insects, Nymphalis antiopa is still common in the southern
part of France, becoming rarer northward (it is protected in Paris area, but
still common in my garden :-)

Barbara Barnett wrote:

 > I would like to find out why the name Mourning Cloak is used in American
 > Englishas a common name for N. antiopa?  I know that in Britain it is
 > called Camberwell Beauty.  It is names in several European languages
 > which have basically the same meaning as "mourning" or "funeral"
 > "cloak", "cape" or "coat":  (examples: German
 > Trauermantel; Dutch, Rouwmantel; Danish Sorgekabe).  In French it is
 > called Le Morio.  Does the French word have any connection to Latin
 > "morio" which means roughly buffoon, monster, imbecile?
 > I would not be surprised that the name Mourning Cloak was chosen
 > because  of the pattern and color of the wings.  Could someone suggest a
 > good reference on the etymology of this name?
 > Also I would like to know more about the status of this species in
 > Europe.  I read on a web site that N. antiopa is listed as extinct in
 > Netherlands and Belgium, and is listed as endangered in Switzerland.
 > Many thanks in advance,
 > Clyde Kessler

INRA Unite de Phytopharmacie et Mediateurs Chimiques
78026 Versailles Cedex
Tel: (33) 1 30 83 31 18
e-mail zagatti at

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