|Those lovely brown wings probably allow the|
Mourning Cloak to absorb more heat
from winter/spring sunlight.
That's because mourning cloaks overwinter as adults (most butterflies species spend the cold months as eggs, caterpillars or chrysalises). But the mourning cloak tucks itself away behind loose tree bark or some other crevice, and take flight on those first deliriously warm spring days--or even on a sunny winter's day.
Given that they're such a harbinger of warm days, don't they deserve a more cheerful name than mourning cloak?