The biggest living butterfly in the world is the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing butterfly ( Orinthoptera alexandrae). It’s one of the rarest butterflies in the world and is only found in the rainforest of New Guinea.

The wingspan of the female Queen Alexandra birdwing is up to 28 centimetres!

Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing butterfly was named by Walter Rothschild and named after Queen Alexandra of Great Britain.

Male Queen Alexandra Birdwings Ornithoptera Alexandrae Butterfly
Male Queen Alexandra Birdwings Ornithoptera Alexandrae Butterfly

The male and female butterflies differ in size, the colour of their wings and body colour. Females are larger with brown wings and a cream coloured body.

Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing butterfly is poisonous to animals who eat it.

Find your wingspan

Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing butterfly has a much larger than average wingspan for a butterfly. Can you calculate your wingspan and compare it to that of your friends?

Spread your arms out straight as far as you can.

Ask a friend to measure the distance from the tip of the longest finger on one hand to the tip of the longest finger on the other hand.

That is your wingspan!

You can also try comparing your wingspan to your height, this is known as ape index.

Make a Butterfly Life Cycle

Another lovely butterfly activity is to make a model butterfly life cycle.

All butterflies and moths undergo a process called metamorphosis. Metamorphosis means transformation! There are four stages to butterfly metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa/chrysalis and butterfly

Edible Butterfly Life cycle

Another lovely butterfly activity is to watch the process in action with this brilliant butterfly growing kit from Insectlore.

This activity is part of my Around the World in 50 Science Experiment series. Download the passport and try them all!

Image of Queen Alexandra's Birdsong butterfly from New Guinea and the New Guinea flag
What is the biggest butterfly? Image of the biggest butterfly in the world

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The post What is the biggest butterfly in the world? appeared first on Science Experiments for Kids.

Originally posted at Science Sparks