|THE WORLD'S LARGEST BUTTERFLY - Ornithoptera alexandrae|
The Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly - Ornithoptera alexandrae, is truly a 'King' amongst its peers. It is without challenge the largest butterfly in the world, but sadly it is considered endangered by the IUCN. It is restricted to approximately 100 square kilometres of coastal rainforest near Popondetta, Oro Province, Papua New Guinea.
|Female Ornithoptera alexandrae|
The Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly was named by Walter Rothschild in 1907, in honour of Alexandra of Denmark. However it was actually discovered by Albert Stewart Meek in 1906 a collector who was employed by Walter Rothschild to collect natural history specimens from Papua New Guinea.
The credentials regarding Meeks collecting abilities are currently under question as the first specimen was taken with the aid of a small shotgun. However, Meek soon discovered their pupae and collected the adults as they emerged.
|Male form - Ornithoptera alexandrae|
The male has wings that are long with angular apices. They are iridescent bluish-green with a black central band. The wingspan of the males is around 9 inches at most, but more usually specimens are seen with a span of about 6 inches.
Robert Nash file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.
Mark Pellegrini file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.
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