The richmond birdwing butterfly is one of Australia’s largest butterflies and also one of the most in need of protection. If disturbed, their flight becomes very erratic, essentially a series of skips and hops weaving in and out of foliage. The butterfly will adapt to planted food plants in disturbed habitats such as gardens. the QLD-NSW border range national parks above 800 m) (Braby 2000, Sands and Scott 1997). Historically, O. richmondia is recorded from rainforests southwards from Maryborough to the Clarence River in New South Wales. Males and females differ in appearance. Close-up of Pararistolochia praevenosa flower Photo © Jenny Thynne. Many non-Australian authors (e.g. Originally the Richmond birdwing was plentiful in the east coast subtropical areas from Maryborough, south-eastern Queensland to Grafton in north-eastern New South Wales, but its breeding distribution is now restricted to fragmented patches from Kin Kin to the Glasshouse Mountains and west as far as Kenilworth on the Sunshine Coast, and from about Ormeau on the Gold Coast south to Wardell in NSW. The Richmond birdwing in its natural state breeds in moist subtropical rainforests wherever the two food plants occur. The plight and recovery of the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly is well known amongst Wildlife Conservation Partnerships Program (WCPP) and Moggill Creek Catchment Group (MCCG) members. The Richmond birdwing is one of Australia's largest butterflies, with a wingspan of up to 16cm in females and 13cm in males. In recent years, retired CSIRO entomologist D.P.A. Depending on food plant availability, habitats are distinctly lowland (to 600m altitude) near the coast or occasionally and seasonally at altitudes above 600m on the New South Wales/Queensland border ranges. Both male and female have a distinctive red patch on the body beneath the base of the wings and a green stripe on top of the thorax. Since 2010, the program has seen more than 500 Richmond birdwing butterflies released into the wild. Former areas of its habitat have been almost completely destroyed, such as at the Big Scrub. With an adult wingspan of up to 16cm the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) is one of Australia’s largest butterflies. Another threatening process is the non-native environmental weed Aristolochia littoralis, or Dutchman's pipevine (see below). The Australian Museum Shop is proud to be offering a range of prints from the Australian Museum's renowned exhibition, Transformations. Female Richmond birdwing feeding on Pentas.Photo © Linda Hansbauer. The RBCN recommended nurseries where you can purchase birdwing vines. Based on Zeuner's argument, D'Abrera (1975) treated O. richmondia as a full species, although this arrangement was not accepted by Haugum & Low (1971). Although Zeuner suggested that O. richmondia may represent a distinct species from examination of the male genitalia, he continued to regard it as a subspecies of O. priamus. 2:21. It is the second smallest of the birdwing species, the smallest being Ornithoptera meridionalis. Females are often observed some distance from their habitats and a migration of sorts has been noted in the QLD-NSW border ranges following years of exceptional rainfall. The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly is one of the largest butterflies found in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Currently, ongoing loss of riparian habitat and invasion by weeds, and mining of volcanic rocks for road base continue to threaten this butterfly. O. richmondia has never received an official IUCN classification (Collins & Morris, 1985), however Sands & Scott (1997) regarded it to satisfy the "vulnerable" category because of habitat loss across its former range. So rewarding to see the caterpillars and the adult female Richmond Birdwing butterfly using the Richmond Birdwing vine we planted for them in our garden. The spectacular Richmond birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) is the largest butterfly in South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network Bring back the Birdwing Butterfly A project of Wildlife Queensland . Sands, D. (2008). This vine is the main food species for the Richmond birdwing butterfly. The Richmond birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia)is the largest subtropical Australian butterfly. Saved by mireille brunel mireille brunel Sands has led a series of recovery projects for O. richmondia. Pre-pupal larvae usually move away from their host plants to pupate, as larvae can be cannibalistic. The threatened Richmond birdwing butterfly is making a comeback in the wild. The RBCN strives to achieve this by establishing vine refuges, as well as creating awareness and support for conservation in the broader community. In recent times there have been programs by schools and government authorities, attempting to encourage new plantings of this vine. Price includes FREE shipping within Australia. Ornithoptera richmondia was initially described as Amphrisius australis by Swainson in 1851, and described a second time as Papilio richmondia by Gray in 1853. They prefer white and red blooms to other colours. Males routinely establish territories along creeks and in rainforest clearings and periodically patrol them during the day, again being most active at dawn and dusk. Both campaigns have been extremely successful in establishing the Richmond birdwing as a flagship species for rainforest conservation in southeastern Queensland (Sands & Scott, 1997). This website is no longer the official website of the Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network. Download this Richmond Birdwing Butterfly photo now. The average male wingspan is 125 mm and the female is 140mm. These are the first confirmed signs of recovery for this butterfly following a 100-year period of population decline and range contraction. The larvae of O. richmondia require relatively specialist environmental conditions for their survival and this is one reason why the species does not establish permanently in home gardens. Insects are not usually popular flagship species, but there are exceptions, such as the spectacular Richmond Birdwing Butterfly (Ornithoptera richmondia) which we are fortunate enough to see on Tamborine Mountain. Eggs are usually laid on the soft foliage of leaders extending into the canopy and emerge within about one week. A recommended viewing locality for this species is the car park at the base of the summit trail to Mount Warning in Mount Warning National Park, New South Wales. The Network partners with … Butterfly effect: rethinking butterfly conservation. Females have dark brown or black wings with extensive white, cream or, in the hindwing, yellowish markings. Courtship is elaborate, with the male initially chasing after the female before hovering above to douse her in pheremones from his androconial brush, a large row of hairs along the anal fold of the hindwing. Common & Waterhouse 1981, Hancock 1983, 1991; Parsons 1996a, 1996b and Hancock & Orr 1997, Braby 2000). • You can make a Birdwing photograph album, a drawing scrap-book, or Birdwing Diary to keep as a permanent record of your observations. The first was largely run in association with the CSIRO's Double Helix school program (Sands and Scott 1997) and focused on planting Pararistolochia praevenosa, in schools and conservation reserves. Population sizes in these habitats therefore vary from year to year. Scary Bugs. Photo © Carolyn Rifello. O. richmondia normally feeds only on two endemic species of the family Aristolochiaceae, Richmond birdwing butterfly vine (Pararistolochia praevenosa) in lowland habitats and Pararistolochia laheyana in highland habitats (e.g. In 2019 the Swallowtail and Birdwing Butterfly Trust provided a small grant to the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland to assist in the captive breeding and release of the Richmond birdwing in eastern Australia, complementing the support being given by local communities and government. The colourful male has a wingspan of 12-13cm, with a black body, brilliant green stripes and spots on both sides of its wings, green patches on its hind wings and a bright red splash on its thorax. This is mostly for the benefit of the Richmond birdwing butterfly. Listed as vulnerable under the Nature Conservation Act, it is a critical priority species. Richmond Birdwing Caperpillar, Butterfly. Ornithoptera richmondia is more abundant south of the Nerang River, especially in Lamington National Park and the associated border ranges. Only Few population pockets remain in southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales. Host vines for use in the captive breeding and release program, Can you spot me? Since its initial descriptions, O. richmondia has commonly been treated as a subspecies of the widespread Priam's birdwing (O. priamus). “It is hoped these releases will boost … the Queensland-New South Wales border ranges national parks), these populations typically die out due to cold winter temperatures and require migration of adults from the lowlands for persistence. In 2002, early signs of recovery in Queensland were severely impacted by the drought, which affected the quality of food plants and prevented breeding and dispersal of butterflies. Sometime later I learned of another similar, but slightly smaller, and highly endangered species living in north-eastern NSW and south-eastern Queensland, the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly. Transformations showcased the work of sisters Harriet and Helena Scott, who became two of 19th-cent The newly emerged larvae devour their eggshell and then require very soft foliage, as they are incapable of feeding on older, tough foliage. Learn how and when to remove this template message, Conservation Volunteers Richmond Birdwing Butterfly projects, Northeastern Australia. • When the adult Birdwing Butterfly emerges, observe how it dries its wings before it is ready to fly away. The pupae are suspended in typical Papilionid fashion by crotchets at the end of their abdomen and a girdle extending around the thorax and require a protected site to survive winter. Since 1990 active conservation projects involving members of the community, particularly schoolchildren, were initiated to address the threatening processes that had led to the decline in numbers and distribution of the birdwing. basalt-derived) or of alluvial origin (e.g. buddleia, pentas, honeysuckle, bougainvillea, impatiens and hibiscus. Habitats are nearly always on rich soils, such as those of volcanic origin (e.g. Habitat losses from forestry, farming, residential clearing and burning and, more recently, mining are the principal threats to the Richmond birdwing. In 1870 the butterfly was reported in newspa… Its present-day range is from Kin Kin and Pomona, North Arm, Yandina, Coolum (although this population is now extinct due to drought), Parklands and Nambour, Diddillibah, Buderim, Eudlo, Palmwoods, the Mooloolah and Diamond Valleys, the entire Blackall Range southeast from Kenilworth to the state forest near the Caloundra Turnoff and west to Peachester and the Stanley River, and the Conondale Range southwards to Mount Mee. Richmond birdwing butterfly, and to encourage them to breed in places where there are very few wild food plants, or places that are no longer suitable as butterfly habitats. Geckos and Gum Leaves 920 views. The most recent and robust taxonomic assessment of O. richmondia is by Edwards, Newland and Regan (2001) who afford this taxon full specific status, albeit as a species of Troides Hübner. Ornithoptera richmondia is also the only birdwing known to enter a true diapause; artificial introduction of other Ornithoptera species to within the range of O. richmondia could interfere with this mechanism. The current recovery programme is run through the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Recovery Network, which aims to establish corridors between existing populations and assist existing populations by planting host plants, maintain previous plantings of host plants, propagate further vines for future planting and continue education and public awareness through seminars and newsletters. The program by CSIRO Double Helix Science Club and later the Richmond Birdwing Conservation Network (RBCN), now operating as one of Wildlife Queensland’s programs, continue to build on these initial recovery efforts. 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