In The Beginning

What Can Be Done?

Destruction of the natural forest is the main threat. The indigenous peoples living in the forests where rare species are found naturally desire money to improve their health, education and other prospects. They are encouraged to clear the land through logging for tropical hardwoods or for planting banana, palm and other cash crops thus destroying the vines on which the birdwings depend.

How can such insects be protected?

Ironically, one solution maybe for the indigenous people to be encouraged to farm these insects by planting their food plants, harvesting a few specimens and selling them for high prices. The breeders and collectors of the insects (the local people) should receive a good price instead of the
middlemen. This should encourage habitat preservation, the survival of the local wildlife species and give the indigenous people an income.

Barry Cogswell

Ornithoptera Goliath

Goliath Birdwing

This is thought to be the second largest butterfly after the Queen Alexandria’s Birdwing. It is found mostly in Papua New Guinea though some sub species are found in northern Irian Jaya and adjacent Islands. It lives in both primary and secondary forest from the lowlands to the highlands. As with all birdwings it breeds on the aristolachia vine, the poisons of which are passed on to the adults or imagos.

  • It was first described in 1888.
  • There are considered to be 8 subspecies.
  • The males have a wingspan of up to 20 cm.
  • The females have a wingspan of up to 22 cm.

It is classified as Vulnerable in the ‘Red Data Book of Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World’.

He Saw It Was Good: O. Goliath
Samson, Female & Titan
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Acrylic on birch ply & saw-chain

H57" x w 47.5"  
145.5 cm x 120 cm