Cairns Birdwing Butterfly

Scientific Name: Ornithoptera euphorion

Other Common Names:

Species documented in 1853 by Gray.

Description

Australia's largest butterfly with females of this species measuring up to 18cm from wing to wing (Zoo, 2004). The male butterfly is smaller than the female, at around 13 cms.

Only the male has streaks of emerald green across their pointed wings. Both have yellow bodies and a bright red thorax.


Reproduction/Lifecycle

The adult butterfly lives for around 4 to 5 weeks. The coupling of the male and female can last up to 36 hours.

Habitat

They are attracted to the native vine the Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia tagala). Ironically, a different species of this same vine (Aristolochia elegans) are poisonous to the Cairns Birdwing.

They live happily in the rainforest, but have also been noted to live in areas without such vegetation such as Magnetic Island.

They are native to the tropics in the north of Queensland.

Diet

Feeds on nectar from flowering plants in the rainforest.

Miscellaneous



Found in:

QLD,


References/Bibliography:

Monteith, Geoff. September, 2000. Birdwing Butterflies in Insects 3, Queensland Museum.

CSIRO, 2006. Cairns birdwing butterfly, CSIRO. Available from: <http://www.ento.csiro.au/aicn/name_c/a_682.htm> [Accessed 19th January 2007]

Zoological Parks and Gardens Board of Victoria, 2004. Cairns Birdwing Butterfly. Available from: <http://www.zoo.org.au/education/factsheets/inv- cairnsbirdwing_butterfly.pdf> [Accessed 19th January 2007]