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Richmond Birdwing

Ornithoptera richmondia
The Richmond Birdwing is one of the smallest species of Birdwing Butterfly... though they are still quite large as far as Butterflies go-- their wingspan can get as large as 15cm. Males and females differ in appearance. The female are larger, but have plainer, brown-grey wings. Males have black wings, but with bright, iridescent blues and greens. Both sexes have red on their thorax.

They are endemic to Australia, and as larvae they normally feed on two specific plants that are also endemic to the continent, Pararistolochia praevenosa and Pararistolochia laheyana. Those larvae need very specific conditions to survive, which is why the Butterflies live in only a very specific range (and are rare-sighted). The larvae require soft plants (like those listed above) to feed upon, but they also need a large volume of food to quell their ravenous appetite. As adults, the Richmond Birdwings are strong fliers, and are often found high up in the canopies, coming down only to feed or lay eggs.

The Richmond Birdwing has not been officially listed by the IUCN, but they are considered locally vulnerable in a few areas, but stable in others. Because their larvae have specific needs, habitat loss and the loss of native plant life are major concerns.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Australia
Size : Wingspan up to 15cm
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Insecta -- Order : Lepidoptera
Family : Papilionidae -- Genus : Ornithoptera -- Species : O. richmondia

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