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Aristolochia elegans - Dutchman's Pipe - and its impact on the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly

I was sent a well informed and considerate message by one of our ebay customers this morning about one of our listings - Aristolochia elegans - Dutchman's Pipe. It is an introduced species that has become a garden escapee if not contained well so I knew of it's ability to become weedy in some areas hence not being sold to the Northern Territitory or Western Australia but I was unaware of its impact on the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly.

Once I read up on this issue, I immediately pulled the listing on our ebay store because I won't no part in adding to any detrimental environmental impacts especially in my local area.

The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly caterpillar depends on two species of native plant as a food source - Pararistolochia pravenosa and Pararistolochia laheyana - and Aristolochia elegans syn A. littoralis emits the same scent so the poor butterfly lays her eggs on the leaves and when the caterpillars hatch, they start eating the leaves and die.

This is one of the reasons why the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly is classified as endangered, the other is habitat loss due to development and many of their native food plants have disappeared.

We can do our part and if anyone lives in its native habitat, which is from Grafton, NSW to Maryborough, QLD please pull up and dispose of the Aristolochia elegans and replace it with one of the more suitable varieties listed above.

Photos of Aristolochia elegans - Dutchman's Pipe.

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