Ornithoptera and Troides

Zhao Li1995/2010

Insect Museum of West China

Insect Museum of West China
Chengdu, China

The Ornithoptera is distributed in the Pacific islands. Their gorgeous colors and huge sizes are striking, and the discoveries of many famous species are legendary. When flying, its posture and appearance are similar to birds. Therefore, “birdwing butterflies” has become the popular name for this type of butterfly in the butterfly research literature. A total of 16 species of birdwing butterflies have been published in the world. It is the largest butterfly genus, with the longest female wingspan reaching 28 cm. Due to the small space of the habitat, most of them are very rare and all species are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
In the middle of the picture is the the Goliath birdwing (Ornithoptera goliath), the butterfly with the largest wing surface area. It is native to New Guinea and the surrounding islands. Like many giant insect species, Goliath is the name of the giant in the Bible. Its male and female have different forms, the one in the top center has gorgeous color, while the female butterfly below looks darker and has different wing shape.
Below them are 2 golden birdwings (Troides aeacus), whose golden hindwings look gorgeous. In the lowe-left and lower-right corners, there are 2 Rippon's birdwings (Troides hypolitus), the largest species of its genus. It is distributed in Sulawesi, Indonesia and its neighboring islands. In the upper-left corner is the southern tailed birdwing (Ornithoptera meridionalis), national butterfly of Papua New Guinea, which is as famous as the bird-of-paradise, national bird of the country. The hind wings of the male butterfly are very small, so their flight ability is not strong. The female butterfly with normal wing development is more active. The 2 butterflies below it are Raja Brooke's birdwings (Trogonoptera brookiana), the national butterfly of Malaysia. In 1856, the famous British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace named it after James Brooke, the first king of the 19th century Raj of Sarawak. It is also known as the "red-necked butterfly" because of the red fluff on its neck. It has a strong ability to soar, male butterfly is also found absorbing water from the wet mud.
The 2 green birdwings in the upper-right corner are the Ornithoptera priamus, Indonesian national butterfly, mainly distributed in Malacca, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, northern Australia, and has 14 subspecies. The wings of male butterfly are covered with golden green scales. These scales have an optical effect. When looking at its wings from different angles, we can see everchanging fascinating colors. The females are larger than the males, but with dim color. Their wings are brown and have white ring-shaped spots, and the wingspan can reach 26 cm. It is the largest butterfly in Oceania. Below them is the Wallace's golden birdwing (Ornithoptera croesus), native to the Moluccas of Indonesia.


  • Title: Ornithoptera and Troides
  • Creator: Zhao Li
  • Date Created: 1995/2010
  • Type: Insect specimen

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