ornithoptera

2

Richmond Birdwing (Ornithoptera richmonida

….a species of birdwing butterfly that is endemic to east coast subtropical areas in Queensland, Australia. Richmond birdwing larvae will mainly feed on two species of plants in the genus Pararistolochia, although they are known to feed on Aristolochia tagala as wellLike other birdwings adult O.richmonida are strong flyers and are active at dusk and the early morning, where they will feed on flowers (usually of the genus Lantana).

Male richmond birdwings will establish territories along creeks and clearings and will patrol them during the day. During the breeding season males and females will preform elaborate courtship displays. These displays usually consist of the male chasing the female and dousing her in pheromones from above.

Phylogeny

Animalia-Arthropoda-Insecta-Lepidoptera-Papilionidae-Troidini-Ornithoptera-O.richmondia

Images: microcebus78 and Ryan Grove

Q is for Queen Alexandra Bird-wing

Top: Male specimen; Bottom: Female specimen
Painting of Queen Alexandra by Luke Fildes (1905)


The Queen Alexandra bird-wing (Ornithoptera alexandrae) is the largest
butterfly in the world. The first European to discover it was Albert Steward Meek, whose employer was Lord Walter Rothschild who gave the species its name in honor of Queen Alexandra. Its habitat is restricted to the Oro forests in Papua New Guinea. As is typical of Ornithopteras, the male and females are completely different in color and size.

The IUCN lists it as an endagered species, and it is the only species of bird-wing listed amongst the 1200 odd species in CITES Appendix I, which means that it is illegal to trade.

Queen Alexandra, born Princess Alexandra of Denmark (1844), was the wife of King Edward VII. Married to the eldest son of Queen Victoria, Alexandra held the title Princess of Wales for 38 years, the longest anyone had ever held that title.