Ornithoptera tithonus (de Haan, 1840)

Arfak Mtns 1000m, Irian Jaya, Indonesia;    ssp. misresiana  (Specimen from Miguel Serrano)
Mt Jayawijaya, Irian Jaya, Indonesia;    ssp. cythaerae: Coll: R Aronheim
Wanggar River, Irian Jaya, Indonesia ssp tithonus
Arfak Mtns, Irian Jaya, Indonesia;    ssp. misresiana    female  (Specimen from Miguel Serrano)
Waigeau Island, Indonesia   ssp. waigeauensis  "aberration." The data for this specimen cast considerable doubt on the validity of the recently described ssp dominici (described from the Tamrau Mountains by one Oliver Schaffler). If this specimen is indeed from Waigeau (I have no reason to doubt the data), then the type of "dominici" shown below is most likely a form rather than a true subspecies. Perhaps the Tamrau Mtn population represents a group with a higher prevalence of this gold aberration. I find the trend to designate every new population that shows even a minor difference from others as a new subspecies both arrogant and counterproductive to the study of population biology. So Called "taxonomists" who are often no more than rich collectors that desire to name and describe a new taxon, shamelessly grasp at trivial differences between neighboring populations and use them to "make their mark" in the scientific community. It is no surprise that the large and showy species are the ones most frequently attacked by such divisionists.
 Ornithoptera have in innate variability that often makes division into subspecies meaningless. Of COURSE different colonies from different regions will have a slightly different phenotype as each represents a small puddle of the species gene pool. This by no means indicates sub specific distinction.  One can often tell a man of Japanese descent from a man of Philippine descent, or say Pakistani descent... Does this mean that we represent separate subspecies? of course it doesn't. Think about it. 
Many species have fallen victim to this taxonomic "racism," notable Parnassius Apollo, Papilio machaon, Ornithoptera priamus and now croesus, paradisea, tithonus, goliath...
I commend the works of such authors as Tyler, Brown (Swallowtails of the Americas), Manfred Spaeth (Butterflies of the World series: Agrias) for their efforts to stress the interrelationships between species/subspecies and dispel some of the fragmentation brought by superfluous differentiation.
Tamrau Mtns Irian Jaya Indonesia ssp dominici TYPE
Tamrau Mtns Irian Jaya Indonesia ssp dominici
Tamrau Mtns Irian Jaya Indonesia ssp dominici female

    Endemic to western New Guinea (Irian Jaya), populations are declining in many areas although it is well protected in the Arfak Mountain reserve where it is now ranched with O. rothschildi and O. paradisea. Coastal populations are not as lucky however, and the virgin forests that it requires are slowly converted to farmland or logged and mined. The nominate race is a lowland coastal insect confined to primary rain forest; misresiana and cithaerea inhabit medium elevations if the Arfak and Weyland mountains regions respectively. A newly described subspecies (dominici) from the Tamrau Mtns in Irian Jaya is also shown. Both the nominate race and the ssp from Waigeao are poorly known and exceedingly localized.