Monday, October 15, 2012


Queen Alexandra Birdwing losing its habitat to logging and oil palm plantations

What is the size of a butterfly must be before everyone is disappearing opinion? For (PNG) Papua New Guinea, the Queen Alexandra Birdwing, the response is tremendous.

largest butterfly in the world has a one foot (30 cm) Wingspan - imagine the width of a school rule - but few foreigners to their homes in the jungle in the province Oro in northern PNG have seen. This is an unlikely scenario that will improve as the oil palm plantations and logging endangered butterfly habitat mercilessly devours.

Edwardian naturalist Albert Meek first he recorded in 1906 an expedition collection PNG. The fast-flying butterfly common treetops high and have resorted Meek blaring down shotgun. The Natural History Museum specimens assigned taxonomic taking Birdwing sprinkled on gender (a group that has super-tropical elongated forewings) and name of the wife of Edward VII.

substantial cause of sexual dimorphism took some time to correlate the men and women of the same species. The females are black velvet with cream spots and bright yellow abdomen. They are about a third larger than the male, which iridescently reasons gold, turquoise, green and black.

not understand why the butterfly is so great, but his lack of predators because of its unpleasantness is certainly a factor.

Queen Alexandra eggs are placed on the leaves of a pine toxic tropical vine Aristolochia called, found in the tropical forests of Oro Province. The caterpillars feed on Aristolochia new ingesting their toxins in all stages of growth until they pupate in a cocoon. Red hair on the chest of the adult butterfly has emerged to warn predators that remains highly toxic.

Queen Alexandra is currently classified as a species of the Annex to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which prohibits trade in specimens to collectors abroad . No legal trade, black market illegal to keep copies of the application. Obsession in wings. Chasing illegal trade (2011), journalist Jessica talks about a butterfly trapped Speart merchant offered pairs of Queen Alexandra illegally smuggled out of PNG for over $ 8,500 (? 5,400)

It is estimated that global trade in smuggled butterfly worth about $ 200 million (£ 127m) annually.
discomfort Queen Alexandra believes degraded state CITES (Appendix 2) to allow limited trade controlled encourage poor subsistence farmers to protect butterfly habitat by allowing them to sell an agreed quota of samples.

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