Like the bird for which it is named, the Luzon peacock swallowtail is renowned for its exquisite beauty. Velvety black, the butterfly’s wings include sprays of iridescent turquoise and purple scales. This species, which was discovered in 1965, lives only in cool, wet cloud forests high in the central mountains of Luzon, the largest, northernmost island of the Philippines.

Some butterflies are quick, zigzagging fliers, but Luzon peacock swallowtails tend to fly slowly, making them easy targets for commercial collectors. Habitat loss is another danger: the swallowtails live close to a popular summer resort and the surrounding forests are not legally protected from logging or other incursions. Today, these butterflies are endangered.

Luzon peacock swallowtail
Papilio chikae
4.3–4.7 inches (1.1–1.2 cm)
Endangered (iucn)
Ecological Role
Herbivore (as caterpillar), pollinator (as adult)
AMNH Specimen Number
AMNH_IZC 00329537
Luzon, Philippines