The World of Birdwing Butterflies



The discoverer of allottei, Abbé Allotte, believed that allottei was a natural hybrid between A. victoriae and O. priamus urvillianus. This was not followed by Rothschild (1914, 1917) who described the taxon as a good species.

The theory of hybridisation was followed by such authors as Schmid (1970), McAlpine (1970) and Haugum & Low (1978) while others still held on to the theory of a distinct species.

The final proof of allottei being a natural hybrid was made by Ray (Ramón) Straatman about a year before his sudden death in April 1987.

Straatman described the life-history of many tropical butterflies and he was an expert on breeding. When he unexpectedly received pupae of A. victoriae and O. priamus urvillianus he planned to attempt cross-breeding of the two species by handpairing them. But due to the unfavourable climatic conditions in his Queensland home at the time, the emerging victoriae and urvillianus males were not healthy. As the females were in better shape, Straatman wanted to handpair victoriae and urvillianus females with males of the Australian O. priamus euphorion.

No handparing was needed, however, as the butterflies readily cross-paired as soon as they were put in the same cage.

The cross-pairing between victoriae and euphorion resulted in a number of perfect "allottei'".

The paper on Straatman's findings was published by Jan Haugum in 'Papilio International' (1990).


Auctor: Rothschild, 1914
Distribution: Bougainville Is., Malaita Is.
Etymology: Named after Abbé Allotte, who discovered allottei.
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© Tony Nagypal, 2000

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