Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Call Thee - the Rajah Brooke

Sunday is a good day to visit the Sarawak Museum. Tourists and local visitors flocked to the Sarawak Museum everyday, including Sunday. A must place to check out if you are in Kuching. What caught my attention today was this over-sized replica of the Rajah Brooke Birdwing Butterfly ( Ornithoptera brookeana) on the front wall of the National History Museum building here. This gorgeous, chastely beautiful of all butterflies has deep velvety black wings that are marked by a band of spots in brilliant metallic green colour. For those familiar with the theory of 'natural selection' and 'the origin of species' might like to note that Darwin had incubated his theory for many years but did not attempt to publish it until his contemporary Alfred Wallace hatched upon the same idea. Alfred Wallace travelled to the Far East especially the Malay archipelago and Indonesian Islands area including Sarawak ( Borneo) to collect samples. It was during his travel here that he named the birdwing butterfly as Rajah Brooke, after the first white Rajah of Sarawak -Sir James Brooke.

The Natural History Museum at the Sarawak Museum garden area.

The Rajah Brooke in flight sucking honey from the Pagoda flowers.
Location: Kambatik eco-farm, Bintulu.

It is not easy to come across the birdwing butterflies. However at my eco-farm in Bintulu, they are everywhere. From my experience birdwing butterflies like upstream waters, marginal forest areas where there are plenty of food sources and bright sunlight. In Bintulu I see them frequently visiting the Pagoda Flower ( Clerondendrum japonicum/paniculatum) blooms, Hibiscus flowers and the Bleeding Heart flowers ,too.


Protege said...

Very interesting post. The last photograph is stunning.
Here we have butterflies too, but none as beautiful as the one on your picture.;)

Daniel Yiek said...

Lots of these butterflies at Bakun rapids