After a several month hiatus I am back to working full steam ahead on my endangered species coloring book! I already had three drawings and this is the fourth- representing the letter Q in the species alphabet. I’m not drawing them alphabetically, but flitting around like a butterfly to some prime spots- the Queen Alexandra Birdwing butterfly to be exact.
You can tell by the name that this is a very special insect, and also happens to be the largest butterfly in the World!
Named after the victorian Queen Alexandra of Denmark, these incredible butterflies live up to their name. They outsize some of the local birds of their native Papua New Guinea (thus the name ‘Birdwing’). Female wingspans can reach over 10 inches, and the males are even known to chase off birds from their territory! The markings and size of the male and female are totally different, a perfect example of sexual dimorphism. I think these will be fun to color in- the males are an iridescent blue-green with black, and the larger females have gold and brown tiger stripes. They have the unique distinction of being one of three insects listed on CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), making their trade illegal internationally.
I wanted to draw these beauties in a way that showed their natural grace and size, while also representing the different stages of their cycles. This was certainly a challenge to draw and fit into one page, but I am very pleased with the result! This artwork is like a snapshot of the Queen Alexandra Birdwing’s life at different stages. In the larval or caterpillar stage they have special powers too, feeding on the poisonous pipe vines of the genus Pararistolochia! And as butterflies they are shown at their height of glory, feeding on one of their favorite feeding sources- hibiscus flowers.
Currently these butterflies are primarily endangered by habitat destruction and poaching. In my book I will dedicate a whole page across from the image of each species to tell all about them. This will feature information such as their unique qualities, origins, feeding habits and life cycles, endangered status and ways to help preserve them where relevant.
This coloring book will be a unique resource to learn about these incredible creatures and the movements to preserve them. Please support and follow along by subscribing to my newsletter, and following me on this blog and social media. Stay tuned for the Kickstarter later this Summer! ~ Niffer