Ornithoptera rothshildi (Kenrick, 1911)

Arfak Mtns., Irian Jaya, Indonesia 5/97  male  (Specimen from Ianni butterflies)
Arfak Mtns., Irian Jaya, Indonesia 5/95  female   (Specimen from Ianni butterflies)

 Until recently, considered to be one of the most prized of the Ornithoptera (birdwings), it is found only in a small region of NW Irian Jaya, Indonesia, in the Arfak Mountains at high elevations. In the right place however, in can be quite abundant, and is now well protected and commercially raised on government protected land. The species is gregarious and hundreds even thousands can be seen at once in the trees of its native rain forests - a sight to behold. Specimens now sell for less than 25 dollars a pair US - 50 years ago specimens were auctioned off for hundreds (before its location became more accessible!)