Ornithoptera alexandrae (Rothschild, 1907)

Popondetta, PNG; 10/77. Photo donated H Fujumi form atavus (typical male gas no gold spots)
Popondetta, PNG; Sept 1966 Leg Robert Aronheim
PNG 10/71, female 

    Endangered and listed as appendix I in CITES, Alexandria'a birdwing is the largest butterfly known and is found in only  a few localities in Papua New Guinea, flying in primary rain forest at canopy level. It is a lowland species and not found much above 700 meters elevation. Efforts may be underway to breed this magnificent insect, but its rarity and the need for gigantic flight cages makes this difficult. It has been suggested that bred specimens be sold by the Papuan government to finance conservation efforts, but this would require relisting it under appendix II and more research on its life history.