Trogonoptera brookiana

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Rajah Brooke's birdwing
Trogonoptera brookiana 0588.JPG
Adult male (above) and female, dorsal surfaces
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Papilionidae
Genus: Trogonoptera
T. brookiana
Binomial name
Trogonoptera brookiana
Wallace, 1855
  • Ornithoptera brookianaWallace, 1855 [2]
  • Troides brookiana

Trogonoptera brookiana, Rajah Brooke's birdwing, is a birdwing butterfly from the rainforests of the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Natuna, Sumatra, and various small islands west of Sumatra (Banyak, Simeulue, Batu and Mentawai). [3] [4] The butterfly was named by the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in 1855, after James Brooke, the Rajah of Sarawak. [4] The larval host plants are Aristolochia acuminata and A. foveolata . [5] Adults sip flower nectar from plants such as Bauhinia . [4] Rajah Brooke's birdwing is a protected species, listed under Appendix II of CITES, [5] [6] meaning that international export is restricted to those who have been granted a permit. It is the national butterfly of Malaysia. [7]



Both sexes resemble the more restricted relative, the Palawan birdwing, but males of Rajah Brooke's birdwing have more green to the hindwings. The wingspan of Rajah Brooke's birdwing is 15–17 cm (5.9–6.7 in). [5] The wings of males are mainly black. Each forewing has seven tooth-shaped electric-green markings, while there is a relatively large electric-green patch on the hindwings. The head is bright red and the body is black with red markings. The wings of females are browner with prominent white flashes at the tips of the forewings and at the base of the hindwings. [5]


Genus: Trogonoptera Rippon, 1890

Species: Trogonoptera brookiana Wallace, 1855
Subspecies: Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana(Wallace, 1855)
Form: Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana f. brookianaWallace, 1855
Form: Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana f. julijaeS.Hu, 2007
Subspecies: Trogonoptera brookiana toshikiiKobayashi, 1991
Subspecies: Trogonoptera brookiana akikoaMorita, 1994
Species: Trogonoptera trojana Honrath, 1886


Two males at Kuala Woh Trogonoptera-brookiana--2-male--Malaysia-2008.jpg
Two males at Kuala Woh

Related Research Articles

Birdwing Swallowtail butterfly

Birdwings are butterflies in the swallowtail family, that belong to the genera Trogonoptera, Troides, and Ornithoptera. Most recent authorities recognise 36 species, however, this is debated, and some authorities include additional genera. Birdwings are named for their exceptional size, angular wings, and birdlike flight. They are found across tropical Asia, mainland and archipelagic Southeast Asia, and Australasia.

<i>Trogonoptera</i> Species of butterfly

Trogonoptera is a genus of birdwing butterflies from the rainforests of the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Natuna, Sumatra, Palawan, and various small islands west of Sumatra. Their large size and stunning colors makes them highly prized by collectors. There are at least three theories as to why these butterflies have such distinctive markings on their wings: (1) the alternate green/black spear shapes mimic sharp thorns; (2) the green spear shapes mimic the camouflage pattern of a fern leaf when the butterfly is resting; (3) when flying, the black and green markings mimic those of green broadbill bird feathers in flight. The three green broadbill species in Borneo are found in the same habitats as Rajah Brooke's birdwing, which occurs from the forested lowlands up to 2.000 m on Mount Kinabalu. A number of observers have noted that all Borneo’s birdwing butterflies are so large that they are easily mistaken for birds in flight. A bird hunting for an insect to eat would be unlikely to attack a bird. If the butterfly wing pattern mimics the broadbill’s feathers then it would be a case of a Mullerian mimicry ring because both species have wings covered with thorn like patterns. In addition the broadbills are protected because of their large beaks and the butterfly because it is poisonous. The blue colors evolved in Trogonoptera brookiana form hecata and Trogonoptera trojana may be explained by the presence of fairy-bluebirds in their habitat.

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<i>Ornithoptera goliath</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Ornithoptera chimaera</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Ornithoptera tithonus</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Ornithoptera meridionalis</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Ornithoptera paradisea</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Troides vandepolli</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Ornithoptera priamus</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Ornithoptera victoriae</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Ornithoptera croesus</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Troides andromache</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Atrophaneura priapus</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Troides cuneifera</i> Species of butterfly

Troides cuneifera, the Mountain Birdwing, is a large butterfly belonging to the swallowtail family, Papilionidae, found in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Java and Borneo.

<i>Trogonoptera trojana</i> Species of butterfly

Trogonoptera trojana, the Palawan birdwing or triangle birdwing, is a birdwing butterfly of the family Papilionidae. It is endemic to Palawan in the Philippines. It is one of only two species in its genus, the other being the more widespread Rajah Brooke's birdwing, where the male has larger green markings on the hindwings. This species is included in CITES Appendix II, restricting international export to those who have been granted a permit. The wingspan is approximately 18–19 cm (7.1–7.5 in). The species may be observed flying at any point during the year. The larvae feed on Aristolochia.

<i>Troides amphrysus</i> Species of butterfly

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<i>Kallima paralekta</i> Species of butterfly

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  1. Böhm, M. (2018). "Trogonoptera brookiana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2018: e.T91184152A91184305. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T91184152A91184305.en . Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. Wallace, Alfred Russel (1855). "Description of a new Species of Ornithoptera. Ornithoptera brookiana. Wallace". The Transactions of the Entomological Society of London. New Series. 3: 104–105.
  3. The World of Birdwing Butterflies. Trogonoptera brookiana. Accessed 20 May 2012
  4. 1 2 3 ARKive Rajah Brooke’s birdwing. Archived 2008-05-16 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 20 May 2012
  5. 1 2 3 4 Butterfly Corner. Trogonoptera brookiana (Raja Brooke's Birdwing). Accessed 20 May 2012
  6. CITES (3 April 2012) Appendices. Accessed
  7. Butterflies of Malaysia. Accessed 20 May 2012

Further reading