Friday 17 May
Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera croesus)
Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly description
Named in affectionate honour of renowned British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who discovered the species in 1859, Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly is an insect of indescribable ‘beauty and brilliancy’(4). The male butterfly is perhaps the most glorious of the sexes, with black forewings with a gold, orange or red leading edge, and golden yellow hindwings with black veins and edges. The undersides of the wings are iridscent green, with black edges and veins (2) (5). The head and thorax are black and the abdomen is yellow (5). The wings of the female, the larger of the sexes, are dark brown on both the upperside and underside with occasional yellowish-grey spots (2) (5), and the head and thorax are brown rather than black (5). The appearance of the caterpillar of this species is not well documented but is likely to be brown with several rows of dark spines (6).
- Wingspan: 13 – 19 cm (2)
Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly biology
The female Wallace’s golden birdwing butterflylays its eggs on the leaves of a plant, most commonly a Pararistolochia species. When the caterpillar hatches, it will proceed to eat the plant’s leaves until it has grown enough to pupate, which is usually does on the stem of the plant. After several weeks, the adult butterfly will emerge. It has been noted that the adult butterfly feeds predominantly on Mussaenda, a shrub plant with yellow flowers (4)Top
Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly range
Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly occurs only in the Maluku Islands, Indonesia (also known as the Moluccan Islands) (4).Top
Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly habitat
This butterfly occurs in wet lowland environments such as swamps (6)Top
Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly statusTop
Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly threats
The rampant, unsustainable logging that has taken place in the lowland areas of the Maluku Islands has significantly reduced the forest coverageand has no doubt reduced numbers of Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly (4). Large-scale, commercial deforestation continues to pose a considerable threat to the future of Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly and other inhabitants of these biodiverse forests (4). In addition, the extreme use of insecticides to combat mosquitoes may be having a detrimental effect on Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly, although the impact of this has not yet been assessed (4).Top
Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly conservation
While there are currently no known specific conservation measures in place for Wallace’s golden birdwing butterfly, a number of conservation organisations are working to conserve wildlife in this region of Indonesia.Top
Find out more
To find out more about wildlife conservation in Indonesia see:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- The process of forming a pupa, the stage in an insect’s development when huge changes occur that reorganise the larval form into the adult form.
- The three segments of a butterfly’s body between the head and the abdomen, each of which has a pair of legs.
IUCN Red List (May, 2010)
- Coote, L.D. (2000) CITES Identification Guide – Butterflies. Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa.
CITES (May, 2010)
- Collins, N.M. and Morris, M.G. (1985) Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World. The IUCN Red Data Book. IUCN, Gland and Cambridge.
Butterflycorner.net (March, 2010)
- Wallace, A.R. (1869) The Malay Archipelago. MacMillan, London.
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.