BEAUTY: Richmond birdwing butterflies (Ornithoptera richmondia) have been sighted in abundance in parts of the region over the last few days.
BEAUTY: Richmond birdwing butterflies (Ornithoptera richmondia) have been sighted in abundance in parts of the region over the last few days.

Huge, rare butterflies spotted around Northern Rivers

SCORES of huge rare butterflies have been turning heads in parts of the region lately.

Richmond birdwing butterflies (Ornithoptera richmondia) have been sighted in abundance over the last few days.

The Richmond birdwing is one of Australia’s largest butterflies with a wingspan of up to 16cm in females and 13cm in males.

Males and females differ in appearance with females donning a dark brown or black wings with extensive white, cream or, in the hindwing, yellowish markings.

The upper forewing of males is black with a distinctive iridescent green leading edge, while the upper hindwing is predominantly iridescent green with black spots.

The underside of the male’s forewing is black with extensive green or blue-green markings whereas the hindwing is largely blue, green and yellow with obvious black spots.

Border Ranges Richmond Valley Landcare Network shared a snap of a Birdwing captured at Collins Creek on its Facebook page, and called on locals to share their pictures of the beauties.

“Have you considered planting a Birdwing Vine (Pararistolochia praevenosa)?” the post read.

“There is also a mountain variety for higher altitudes. This vine is fundamental to larval survival of the Richmond birdwing.

“Check in with Kyogle Landcare Inc who propagate the vines and Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery.

“The introduced vine species Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia elegans) has been described as a ‘death trap’ for Richmond birdwings.

“The butterflies lay their eggs on the vine but the leaves are toxic to the emergent larvae.”

Please report sightings to the Border Ranges Richmond Valley Landcare Network Facebook page or phone 66323722.