Subject: mourning cloaks abound
Location: hermann, missouri
June 9, 2014 2:17 pm
we saw the first one or two here on our farm for the first time in 2012. last year there were a small number and THIS YEAR…. they are abundant! we had a flight of them about two months ago and then, from Weds 6/4-today 6/9 they are everywhere you look. Why are there so many this summer?
Signature: eight pond farm
Dear eight pond farm,
Like many other insects and living creatures for that matter, the varying numbers of Mourning Cloaks from year to year are an effect of other conditions, including weather patterns, available food, number of predators and countless other, sometimes seemingly unrelated factors. All life is interconnected and perhaps the winter favored the survival of the hibernating adults which then laid numerous eggs and the caterpillars might have escaped predation because a predator did not have a similar success rate. Interestingly, last month you sent in an image of a population explosion of the predatory Caterpillar Hunters known as Fiery Searchers. Since there was a healthy population of Mourning Cloak Caterpillars, that fed an equally healthy population of Fiery Searchers, it is evident from this inquiry that both predators and prey have abounded, and obviously a large number of the caterpillars survived predation. We also received a report this spring from Texas of a large number of Mourning Cloak Chrysalides. We wish your image was a higher resolution.
Thanks Daniel! i’ll take another photo and send it in a large-rez Mourning Cloak for you. and thanks for the explanation. the firery searchers don’t seem large enough to prey upon mourning cloak larvae?? and yes, both these upsurges are quite noticeable! but i am not noticing a downtrend in anything except for monarchs. our bee population seems to be the same as it always has been btw, even bumblebees….