Queen Alexandra's Birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae) is the largest butterfly in the world.
The species was named by Lord Walter Rothschild in 1907, in honour of Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. The first European to discover the species was Albert Stewart Meek in 1906, a collector employed by Lord Walter Rothschild to collect natural history specimens from Papua New Guinea. Although the first specimen was taken with the aid of a small shotgun, Meek soon discovered the early stages and bred out most of the first specimens. It is restricted to the forests of Oro Province in eastern Papua New Guinea.
Though most authorities now classify this species in the genus Ornithoptera, it has formerly been placed in the genus Troides or Aethoptera. In 2001 the lepidopterist Gilles Deslisle proposed placing it in its own subgenus (which some writers have treated as a genus); he originally proposed the name Zeunera, but this is a junior homonym (with Zeunera Piton 1936 [Orthoptera]), and his replacement is Straatmana.
Female Queen Alexandra's Birdwings are larger than males with markedly rounder, broader wings. The female can reach a wingspan of 31 cm (12.2...