Male Cairns Birdwing Butterfly (Ornithoptera euphorion) at the Melbourne Zoo, Australia
Australia’s largest endemic butterfly species, with females reaching a wingspan of up to 16 cm. Males are usually a few centimetres smaller.
Males have a predominately black upper wing with emerald green flashes, however the female lacks the green colouring, 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. The leaves of the introduced Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia elegans) will kill the larvae of this species and several other swallowtail butterflies in Australia. The Cairns Birdwing Butterfly lives in tropical rainforests between Mackay and Cooktown in north-east Queensland, Australia. It is most often seen flying in the canopy of the rainforest.
The destruction of tropical rainforest has led to a decline in the population of the Cairns Birdwing Butterfly and it is now a protected species
D300. 105mm Nikkor f/2.8 ED VR
1/60s, f/4.0, ISO:800