The World of Birdwing Butterflies



IUCN conservation status category: INDETERMINATE.

As many other birdwing species, Schoenbergia chimaera was discovered by Alfred Steward Meek, the adventurous naturalist whose collecting journeys were financed by Lord Rothschild. It was during a field trip to the southern part of the Owen Stanley Range, in the days of May 1903 that the species was found. Meek employed natives on his trips and fine series of female chimaeras were netted, shot down or captured with nets made of spiderwebs. Meek finally took the first male during his November 1901 - February 1905 expeditions at Angabunga River.

S. chimaera is the highest occurring member of the birdwing group. It inhabits damp, cool, moss gorges from 1,200 - 1,300 m. It seems to be most numerous around 1,600 - 1,800 m. Both sexes will frequent Hibiscus flowers. The 4 mm eggs are laid at Aristolochia momandul throughout its range.

To view the images of this species, click on the name of the species.
To go direct to the images
of a specific subspecies, click on the name of the subspecies.

S. chimaera charybdis

Auctor: Van Eecke, 1915
Syn.: dracaena Talbot, 1915 (nom. nud.)
Syn.: dracaena Joicey & Talbot, 1916
Syn.: dracena Sharp, 1922
Distribution: Irian Jaya; Berau ( = Vogelkop) Peninsula, Weyland Mts., Sudirman (=Snow) Mts.
Etymology: Charybdis refers to a dangerous maelstrom near Messina, Sicily.
Described forms:
mf. charybdis Van Eecke, 1915
mf. sagnifluens Rousseau-Decelle, 1935
mf. aurata Rousseau-Decelle, 1935
mf. confluenta Haugum & Low, 1979
mf. polyconfluenta Ohya, 1983
mf. quinquemaculata Parrott & Deslisle, 1986


S. chimaera chimaera

Auctor: Rothschild, 1904
Distribution: NE Irian Jaya, N & E Papua
Etymology: Chimaira was a she-goat, a fabulous fire-spouting monster in
Greek mytholgy.
Notes: Females of C.chimaera usually have their bodies covered by hair.
However, according to Alan Lanford, IFTA, females with both "hairy bodies" and
"smooth bodies" can emerge from the same batch of eggs (ref. Ian Davies).
Described forms:
mf. chimaera Rothschild, 1904
mf. confluenta Haugum & Low, 1979
mf. aurata Rousseau-Decelle, 1935
mf. dioni Deslisle & Sclavo, 2008
ff. excellens Haugum & Low, 1979
ff. herminae Rousseau-Decelle, 1935
ff. excellens Haugum & Low, 1979

S. chimaera flavidor

Auctor: Rothschild, 1913
Distribution: PNG; Huon Peninsula
Etymology: Flavidor = yellowish, flavescent
Described forms:
mf. flavidor Rothschild, 1913
mf. aurata Rousseau-Decelle, 1935

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© Tony Nagypal, 2000-2008

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