Male Cairns Birdwing Butterfly (Ornithoptera euphorion) at Melbourne Zoo.
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.