The World of Birdwing Butterflies



In the years of 1884 and 1885 two Royal Naval vessels 'Herald' and 'Rattlesnake' visited the Solomon Islands, Aneitum, New Hebrides and Fiji. In Guadalcanal island in the Solomons, this large butterfly was seen at the top of the tree canopy. It was, however, out of reach until the naturalist John McGillivray managed to shoot down a female by his gun. The type specimen is therefore perforated by the many small shots.

The first male, from Malayta Island, was collected by C. M. Woodford in 1886.

The specimen arrived unlabelled to England, so some speculation arose as to its origin.

Further confusion about Aetheoptera victoriae's distribution came about when Rippon in his 'Icones' quoted victoriae from Fiji Islands, a misunderstanding caused by Lord Rothschild having purchased a pair from a captain of a merchant vessel. This captain claimed the specimens had been captured in Fiji.

The actual distribution is restricted to the Solomon Islands.

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.

A.victoriae epiphanes

Auctor: Schmid, 1970
Distribution: San Christobal Is.
Etymology: Title held by the sovereigns of the Selucid and Ptolemaic dynasties.
Described forms:
mf. brossardi Deslisle, 1995
  mf. julesi Deslisle & Sclavo, 2008
  mf. belai Deslisle & Sclavo, 2008

A.victoriae isabellae

Auctor: Rothschild, 1908
Distribution: Santa Isabel Is.
Etymology: Named after its type locality, Santa Isabel Is.
Described forms:

A.victoriae regis

Auctor: Rothschild, 1895
Syn.: resplendens Ehrmann, 1925
Syn.: buinensis Le Moult, 1912
Distribution: Bougainville Is., ? Alu Is., Choiseul Is., ? Buka Is.
Etymology: Regis = king.
Described forms:
mf. gabrieli Le Moult, 1911
mf. alexisi Le Moult, 1912
mf. lanieli Le Moult, 1912
mf. brabanti Le Moult, 1912
mf. infanta Bryk & Peebless 1932
mf. ponceletanus Rousseau-Decelle, 1946
mf. flamea Rousseau-Decelle, 1946
mf. sanguinea Rousseau-Decelle, 1946
  mf. niclasi Sch䦦ler, 2001
  ff. brabanti Le Moult, 1912
  f. ponceleti Rothschild, 1936 (gynandromorph)

A.victoriae reginae

Auctor: Salvin, 1888
Syn.: victoriae Salvin & Godman, 1887 nec Gray, 1856
Syn.: buinensis Grose Smith, 1887 nec Gray, 1856
Distribution: Malaita Is.
Etymology: Reginae = queen.
Described forms:
mf. rubesco Haugum & Low, 1978
mf. brossardi Deslisle, 1995
mf. gabrieli Le Moult, 1911
  ff. polychroma Haugum & Low, 1978



A.victoriae maramasikensis

Auctor: Morita, 2000
Distribution: Mara Masike Is. (=Small Malaita Is.)
Etymology: Named after its type locality, Mara Masike Is.
Notes: Matsuka (2001) treated this subspecies as a synonym of A. victoriae reginae.
Described forms:

A.victoriae victoriae

Auctor: Gray, 1856
Distribution: Guadalcanal Is., Florida (= Ngella ) Is., Tulahi (= Tulagi) Is.
Etymology: Named in honour of queen Victoria.
Described forms:
mf. brossardi Deslisle, 1995
  mf. niclasi Sch䦦ler, 2001
  mf. gousseyi Deslisle, 2008

A.victoriae rubianus

Auctor: Rothschild, 1895
Distribution: Kolombangara Is., Rendova Is., Rubiana Is., ? Ranongga Is.
Etymology: Named after its type locality, Rubiana Is.
Described forms:
mf. noellann Rumbucher, 1973
mf. niclasi Sch䦦ler, 2001
  ff. gisoensis Haugum & Low, 1978

A.victoriae archeri

Auctor: Calderara, 1984
Distribution: N and W Choiseul Is.
Etymology: Named in honour of British entomologist Edward N. Archer, who
  collected the type specimens of this subspecies.
Described forms:
mf. niclasi Sch䦦ler, 2001

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䯮y Nagypal, 2000-2008

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