Location: Singapore
December 4, 2010 8:18 am
I shot these at the Butterfly Conservatory in Singapore a couple of years ago. They are really stunning but I don’t know the species.
Can You ID them?
Signature: Tom Whitney

Mating Common Birdwings

Hi Tom,
Your mating butterflies are Common Birdwings,
Troides helena, which we identified on the Arkive Images of Life on Earth website where it is stated:  “The common birdwing is amongst the largest and most beautiful butterflies in Asia (3) (4). The dramatic contrast of golden yellow hind-wings and glossy black forewings gives this species a striking appearance (3), and serves as a protection mechanism by warning potential predators that it is distasteful (2). The upper surface of the golden hind-wings features black boarders and veins, with females additionally possessing a row of large, triangular black spots (4). A prominent pink saddle distinguishes the caterpillar of this species, and the pupa has a leafy appearance that helps to camouflage it from predators.”  The Common Birdwing was the Butterfly of the Month in January 2010 on the Butterfies of Singapore website.  Your other butterfly is also a Birdwing, and it really resembles a male Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing, Ornithoptera alexandrae, which is found in New Guinea.  The Butterfly Facts website has a photograph that looks very similar to your image, and you have to scroll down the page to find it.  Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing is thought to be the largest butterfly in the world, thought he females are larger than the males, and the Butterfly Corner website indicates that it is found in Singapore.

Male Queen Alexandra's Birdwing

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Location: Singapore

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