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The Monarch butterfly is a milkweed butterfly. It is perhaps the best known of all North American butterflies. Since the 19th century, it has been found in New Zealand and in Australia since 1871 where it is called the Wanderer. It is resident in the Canary Islands, the Azores, and Madeira, and is found as an occasional migrant in Western Europe and a rare migrant in the United Kingdom. The Viceroy butterfly has a similar size, color, and pattern, but can be distinguished by an extra black stripe across the hind wing. Female Monarchs have darker veins on their wings, and the males have a spot called the ‘androconium’ in the center of each hind wing from which pheromones are released.
The Monarch is famous for its southward migration and northward return in summer from Canada to Mexico and Baja California.
Birdwings are papilionid butterflies native to the Indian Subcontinent, mainland and archipelagic Southeast Asia and Australasia, and are usually regarded as belonging to three genera: Ornithoptera, Trogonoptera and Troides. Some authorities include additional genera. The exact number of species is debated, but most recent authorities recognize between 30 and 40. Birdwings are named for their exceptional size, angular wings, and birdlike flight.
Included among the birdwings are some of the largest butterflies in the world: the largest, Queen Alexandra's Birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae); the second largest, the Goliath Birdwing (O. goliath); and the largest butterfly endemic to Australia, the Cairns Birdwing (O. euphorion). Another well-known species is Rajah Brooke's Birdwing (Trogonoptera brookiana), a particularly attractive species named after Sir James Brooke, the first White Rajah of 19th century Sarawak.
Due to their size and bright colours, they are popular among collectors of butterflies, but all birdwings are now listed by CITES, thereby limiting (and in the case of O. alexandrae completely banning) international trade.
Troides darsius, popularly known as the Sri Lanka Birdwing, is the National Butterfly of Sri Lanka.
Swallowtail butterflies are large, colorful butterflies in the family Papilionidae, which includes over 550 species. Though the majority are tropical, members of the family occur on every continent except Antarctica. The family includes the largest butterflies in the world, the birdwing butterflies of the (genus Ornithoptera).
Swallowtails have a number of characteristic features; for example, on the prothorax a Papilionid caterpillar bears a repugnatorial organ called the osmeterium. The osmeterium normally is hidden, but when threatened, the larva everts it through a transverse dorsal groove by inflating it with blood. It is a fleshy, forked structure and emits smelly secretions containing terpenes, which the larva typically tries to smear onto any attacker touching it.
The adults of some species have conspicuous posteriad prolongations of the hind wings in the region of the M3 vein. The forked appearance of these features as seen in the butterfly when resting with its wings spread, gave rise to the common name swallowtail.
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