Thailand, Malaysia &
Family - PAPILIONIDAE
Tribe - TROIDINI
There are 21 Troides
species although Trogonoptera ( 2
species ) and Ornithoptera ( 13 species
) are also included in Troides by some
Troides Birdwings are all similar to
helena, with black elongated forewings
and extensive areas of metallic golden yellow on the hindwings. The
yellow areas are iridescent, and at extreme angles can reflect green
violet, orange or purple hues.
Troides helena is the commonest and
most widespread species, being found in India, Myanmar, Thailand,
Vietnam, south China, Taiwan, West Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra,
Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Java and Bali.
This species is found in primary and secondary
rainforest at elevations between 0-800m.
Trogonoptera and Ornithoptera
species use Aristolochiaceae as their larval foodplants.
Troides helena has been recorded on
A. tagala, and
The eggs are large,
spherical, pink in colour, but coated in an orange glutinous
substance. They are laid singly on the upper surface of leaves of
the foodplants, on the midrib, near the tip.
which is toxic to birds, when fully grown is dull brown, with a
broad white diagonal bar along the side of the middle section. It
has several rows of long recurved fleshy protuberances along the
back and sides.
resembles a dead leaf. It is pale olive-brown colour, marked with
fine striations, and has a dull yellowish saddle mark on the back.
The abdomen is curved into an S shape, and has a double row of
dorsal thorns. It is attached vertically to a stem, or sometimes
suspended beneath a leaf, attached by the cremaster and a strong
In the morning the
females sit on foliage high in the trees, while males glide in broad
circles above them trying to locate potential mates. Upon
discovering a female the male performs an elaborate quivering
courtship dance several metres above her, before alighting beside
her to copulate. Later in the day both sexes can be seen fluttering
flowering trees and
bushes including Lantana. When
nectaring they usually keep the wings constantly fluttering,
although I have on occasions seen them basking on flowers in the
Danum valley in Borneo. Towards late afternoon both sexes begin to
seek roosting sites. At Ulu Gerok in Malaysia for example I have
watched males flying deep into the foliage of trees, where they rest
in the shade with their wings outspread.
Troides helena cerberus,
Kuala Woh, West Malaysia ©