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Detail of the wing of a Cairns Birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion)
Kuranda Butterfly Farm
Cairns, Australia. 2010.
Canon EOS 400D
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
f/4.0, 1/100s, ISO 400, RAW
The Cairns Birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion) is Australia’s largest endemic butterfly species.
Females have a wingspan reaching of up to 16 cm, males are usually a few centimeters smaller. A closely allied species, the New Guinea or Priam’s Birdwing (Ornithoptera priamus) reaches 19 cm and is the largest butterfly species found in Australia, but it is not endemic.
Males have a predominately black upper wing with emerald green flashes, however the female lacks the green coloring, having a plain black upper wing with white patches. The female is the larger of the two sexes. The larvae or caterpillars of this species breed on several species of pipe vine, including Aristolochia tagala and Pararistolochia deltantha. The latter species is more commonly used at altitude, with A. tagala used at sea level.
Cairns Birdwings are found southwards from Mount Webb and Cooktown to Mackay in Queensland. Its favoured habitat is primary rainforest, although the species will breed readily in a home garden if the correct larval host plants are grown. (care of Wikipedia)
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