Golden Birdwing Butterfly (Troides rhadamantus)

Pricing: Dead (spread, as pictured): $50
Geographic Range: Philippines
View: Top View  Sex: Male


Image Copyright 2003
Barbara Strnadova

Troides rhadamanthus is one of the most striking of the Golden Birdwings. It is fairly distinctive since it is confined to the Philippines where it is quite widespread and generally very common. Unlike most other Birdwing Butterflies, it can cope with the destruction of primary forest and is not in any danger at the moment. It is also farmed in the Philippines for sale in the insect trade and is reportedly very common wherever its host plant Aristolochia grows - including public and private gardens. Troides rhadamanthus fly high above the ground, often over sun-warmed gullies and creeks. Adults drink nectar and frequently visit flowers such as Lantana. Larvae feed on Aristolochia, preferring the species A. tagala, A. ramosi, A. philippensis, and A. elegans. Considerable variation in the amount of yellow on the hindwing occurs throughout the different islands of the Philippines and many distinctive forms and subspecies have been described, most notably T. rhadamanthus dohertyi from Talaut which has a hindwing that is entirely black and T. rhadamanthus plateni from Palawan which has a hindwing that is mostly black with only a small amount of yellow. The taxonomic relationship between T. rhadamantus rhadamantus (pictured), and the two subspecies just described is unsettled. Some taxonomists (Haugum & Low (1985) argue strongly for placing both plateni and dohertyi as subspecies of T. rhadamantus, while others (e.g. Tsukada & Nishiyama, 1980, 1982) accept all of them as distinct species.