The World of Birdwing Butterflies

 

TROGONOPTERA TROJANA

Trogonoptera trojana inhabits the west Philippine island of Palawan. Haugum & Low (1982) pointed out that it cannot have been a long time isolated resident to the island as it clearly stands very close to T. brookiana. The male genitalia of the two species do not show major differences. The distance between Palawan and Balabac - an island inhabited by T. brookiana - is short; some 40 km only.

Parts of Palawan is still under the control of local tribes, thus making those areas difficult to visit. Haugum & Low (1982), referring to Dr. Jumalon's field notes from the 1960's and 1970's, reported trojana to be present up to 700 m altitude. Nevertheless, it is believed that trojana is to be found throughout the island up to 700 m altitude. Mr Jan Petersen, who lives in Palawan, reports that both sexes of the species are common up to at least 1000 m. He also reports that until around 1990 villagers all over north-eastern Palawan collected T. trojana by the thousands. The local children, who played and swimmed in the local river, often brought with them huge nets to collect fresh specimens of T. trojana, descending to the wet sand by the river bed.

Today T. trojana is prohibited by law in Palawan. In fact, it is forbidden to collect any kind of insect without a special permit. Mr Petersen reports about a foreign collector who in September 2000 received a USD 600 penalty for collecting butterflies, while four other foreigners got 10 days in prison and a USD 5,500 "reward" for collecting beetles without a permit!

The sex-ratio is near equal, but still the number of collected males outnumber the females by 30:1. This is due to the fact that females rarely descend from the canopy. The males prefer broad river beds surrounded by jungle at low to moderate elevations, while the females can be encountered at mountain forest edges, crossings of streams or blossom at the trees on the ridge.

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T. trojana

Auctor: Honrath, 1886
Distribution: Philippines; Palawan Is., ?Bugsuk Is.
Etymology: Latin; 'from Troy'.
Notes:
Described forms:
none



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Tony Nagypal, 2000

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