Very exciting news!!! For the first time in three years, the New Guinea Birdwing has arrived!
Ornithoptera priamus is found in New Guinea, Northern Australia and in the Moluccas: Indonesian Islands. We have been eagerly awaiting their return to the butterfly house. The New Guinea birdwing is still widely spread but endangered due to habitat loss. The species is protected under CITIES appendix II, which restricts the international trade of the species in order to protect the wild population. Because we are permitted through the USDA and APHIS, we are allowed to receive individuals bred in captivity.
Butterflies can only be bred if their host plants are thriving. A host plant is the only plant that the caterpillar eats and therefore it’s the only plant that the female butterfly lays it’s eggs on, which is species specific. The areas and climates in which the plant can grow, determines the natural range of the butterfly.
The New Guinea Birdwing has the host plant of Dutchman’s Pipe or Birthwort, there are many other species within the same plant family that is also used as a host plant for O. priamus. Some of these plant species are endangered, which has greatly reduced the population of the New Guinea Birdwing in the wild.