Saturday, 5 March 2011

ESSENTIAL: Saving the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly

Pararistolochia praevenosa 

(ARISTOLOCHIACEAE) 

Richmond Birdwing Vine



Pararistolochia praevenosa - Richmond Birdwing Vine
Photo: Robert Whyte
Large woody climber with a dense covering of brown hairs on petioles, young shoots and inflorescences.
Leaves alternate, ovate to elliptic, to 25 cm long, base cordate or rounded, upper surface dark green and dull, lower surface with scattered hairs on veins. Petiole to 30 mm long, thickened and twisted.
Flowers around 20 mm long, moderately hairy, purplish.
Fruit is a capsule, oblong to ovoid, to 4 cm long, ribbed.



Pararistolochia praevenosa flower
Photo: Don Sands


















Flower of Pararistolochia praevenosa - about 2cm in length.




Pararistolochia praevenosa flower
Photo: Don Sands















Looking down throat of flower of Pararistolochia praevenosa.




Pararistolochia praevenosa fruit
Photo: Robert Whyte














Fruit of Pararistolochia praevenosa - about 3-4cm in length.




Richmond Birdwing butterfly
Photo: Don Sands















Host plant for the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly. The range of this butterfly is now very fragmented (essentially extinct in large parts its range) due to the loss of this food plant through the clearing of bushland.

Richmond Birdwing butterflies mistake the ornamental Dutchman's Pipe vine for a native Pararistolochia vine and lay their eggs on it.

Toxins in this introduced plant kill young caterpillars.

It is very important to remove all signs of Dutchman's Pipe to protect any remaining butterflies.

The Richmond Birdwing Recovery Network is attempting to encourage this butterfly to repopulate throughout its range, through a planting program in partnership with bushcare groups.

To find out more about this butterfly, follow the links below.


    larva of Richmond Birdwing butterfly
    Photo: Don Sands











    Larva of Richmond Birdwing butterfly feeding on Pararistolochia praevenosa.




    Male Richmond Birdwing butterfly
    Photo: Robert Whyte










    Male Richmond Birdwing butterfly. Thanks to Don Sands for allowing us to photograph these butterflies in his collection.

    Female Richmond Birdwing butterfly
    Photo: Robert Whyte








    Underside of male Richmond Birdwing butterfly. Thanks to Don Sands for allowing us to photograph these butterflies in his collection.





    Female Richmond Birdwing butterfly
    Photo: Robert Whyte










    Female Richmond Birdwing butterfly. Thanks to Don Sands for allowing us to photograph these butterflies in his collection.




    Underside of female Richmond Birdwing butterfly
    Photo: Robert Whyte













    Underside of female Richmond Birdwing butterfly. Thanks to Don Sands for allowing us to photograph these butterflies in his collection.

    1 comment:

    celestial elf said...

    Great Post :D
    thought you might like my machinima film the butterfly's tale~
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1fO8SxQs-E
    Bright Blessings
    elf ~