The World of Birdwing Butterflies



Being very similar to T. amphrysus, it is not surprising that T. cuneifera was originally described as Ornithoptera amphrisius var. cuneifera. The first to separate the two species was Snellen in 1889, but it was not until Roepke in 1935 described the differences in their genitalia that most authors took the same stand.

While T. amphrysus is chiefly a lowland species, T. cuneifera is more a mountain species. It prefers primary or secondary forests and is recorded from 300 m (in Malaya) to 2000 m (in Java).

T. cuneifera includes one of the most mysterious taxons of birdwing butterflies, namely T. cuneifera tantalus (see text under T. cuneifera tantalus for more details).

The species is on decline in Sumatra due to human activities, such as increased cultivation.

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.
To go direct to the image of a specific form, click on the name of the form.

T. cuneifera paeninsulae

Auctor: Pendlebury, 1936
Syn.: ruficollis (female) Corbet & Pendlebury, 1934 part. nec
Butler, 1877
Syn.: paeninsulæ Pendlebury, 1936
Syn.: peninsulae D'Abrera, 1975
Syn.: peninsulae Okano, 1977
Syn.: peninsulae Tsukada & Nishiyama, 1980
Distribution: S. Thailand - Malay Peninsula
Etymology: Paeninsulae = peninsula.
Described forms:

T. cuneifera sumatrana

Auctor: Hagen, 1894
Syn.: sumatranus Rothschild, 1895
Syn.: cuneifera Nicéville & Martin, 1895
Syn.: sumatranus Pendlebury, 1936
Syn.: amphrysus Pendlebury, 1936
Syn.: sumatranus Kurosawa, 1966
Syn.: sumatranus Tsukada & Nishiyama, 1980
Distribution: N. and C. Sumatra
Etymology: Named after its type locality, Sumatra.
Described forms:

T. cuneifera ssp. noname

Auctor: - - - -
Distribution: S. Sumatra; Mt Dempo
Etymology: - - - -
Described forms:

T. cuneifera cuneifera

Auctor: Oberthür, 1879
Syn.: ritsemae Snellen, 1889
Syn.: ritsemaï Snellen, 1889
Syn.: cuneifer Rothschild, 1895
Syn.: cuneatus Rippon, 1902
Syn.: ritsemæ Ehrmann, 1904
Distribution: Java
Etymology: Name refers to the red pronotal collar.
Described forms:
mf. cuneifera Oberthür, 1879
mf. roepkei Haugum & Low, 1983

T. cuneifera tantalus

Auctor: Ehrmann, 1904
Distribution: ? Borneo (see notes below)
Etymology: Tantalus was mother of Nioba. (Tantalus = so small).
Notes: T.cuneifera tantalus remains one of the great mysteries of the
birdwings. The taxon is known from only one male and one female.
The specimens were claimed to originate from Kala Bula Hills or
Kala Bala Hills, North Borneo. Its origin might refer to Kota
Kinabalu Village or Kota Kinabalu Mountain, or even to areas in 
the interior of Borneo. I would recommend any student to study
Haugum & Low (1983)'s interesting discussion about the
circumstances regarding the origin of this taxon.
Let us all hope that the poorly known interior of Borneo can be
properly examined before the Bornean timber industry will burn
down the whole island.
Described forms:
mf. none

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