Ornithoptera chimaera

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Chimaera birdwing
Ornithoptera chimaera charybdis.jpg
Ornithoptera chimaera f.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Papilionidae
Genus: Ornithoptera
Species: O. chimaera
Binomial name
Ornithoptera chimaera
Rothschild, 1904

Ornithoptera chimaera, the chimaera birdwing, is a birdwing butterfly of the family Papilionidae. It is found in mountain areas of New Guinea, 1000 meters above sea level.

The "chimaera" portion of both the scientific and vernacular name, is named after the Chimaera, Greek: Χίμαιρα, Khimaira, from χίμαρος, khimaros, a creature in Greek mythology, composed of parts of three animals.


As Schoenbergia chimaera, male in Robert Henry Fernando Rippon's Icones Ornithopterorum (1898 to 1906)
For terms see External morphology of Lepidoptera.

Ornithoptera chimaera is sexually dimorphic. The wingspan is 80–180 mm in females and 70–150 mm in males.

Male: The forewings are ground colour black. There are two green areas. The underside of the forewing is green. The margin of the wing is black. The veins are black. There is a chain of little postdiscal internervular black spots on the wing. The hindwing inner part and the edge are black. The other part of the wing is green and contains some large, golden spots and two or more black spots. The underside of the hindwing is green. There are large, golden spots and three black spots. The inner edge is very hairy.

The abdomen is bright yellow. Head and thorax are black. The underside of thorax has two red tufts.

Female: The female is larger than the male. The general colour of the female is dark brown. There is a chain of white postdiscal spots on the forewings, a discal chain and white subcostal spots. In the discal part of the hindwings there is a large, white area. The outer edge of this white area is yellow. Between the white part and the yellow part there is a chain of black spots.


  • Ornithoptera chimaera chimaera
  • Ornithoptera chimaera charybdis (van Eecke, 1915)
  • Ornithoptera chimaera flavidior Rothschild, 1913

Type material[edit]

The holotype is in the Natural History Museum, London.



O. chimaera is a montane species found in the Central Range montane rainforests. The larvae feed on species of the genus Aristolochia including Aristolochia momandul. The female lays up to 20 eggs on the leaves. Adults feeds upon the nectar of Spathodea (an invasive species) and Hibiscus. Groups of both sexes can be seen circling the tops of these trees in the canopy.


The chimaera birdwing is listed on CITES Appendix II, restricting international trade to those who have been granted a permit.[2] It is also regarded at near threatened by the IUCN.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gimenez Dixon, M. (1996). "Ornithoptera chimaera". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 1996: e.T15516A4732053. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.1996.RLTS.T15516A4732053.en. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  2. ^ CITES appendices I, II and III, Version 27 April 2011.
  • D'Abrera, B. (1975) Birdwing Butterflies of the World. Country Life Books, London.
  • Collins, N. Mark; Morris, Michael G. (1985). Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World: The IUCN Red Data Book. Gland & Cambridge: IUCN. ISBN 978-2-88032-603-6. 
  • Haugum, J. & Low, A.M. 1978-1985. A Monograph of the Birdwing Butterflies. 2 volumes. Scandinavian Press, Klampenborg; 663 pp.
  • Straatman, Raymond; & Schmid, F.,1975 Notes on the biology of Ornithoptera goliath and O. chimaera (Papilionidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 29: 85-88.pdf
  • Thomas Graham Howarth, 1977 A list of the type-specimens of Ornithoptera (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae) in the British Museum (Natural History) Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology series 36:153-169 pdf

External links[edit]