For this project the Swallowtail and Birdwing Butterfly Trust entered into an agreement with Operation Wallacea to conduct a survey of the butterfly fauna of the relatively isolated and poorly known Natewa Peninsula on Vanua Levu, Fiji Islands.
In 2017 Operation Wallace undertook a preliminary survey of the Natewa Peninsula and, amongst their many findings, photographed butterflies and submitted their pictures to the Trust for identification. There is only one species of papilionid known on the Fiji Islands, Papilio schmeltzii, a relatively common species, but further survey work is needed.
With the exciting prospect of completing a thorough survey in this remote region, the Trust brought together a two-man team of expert associates, John Tennent and Richard Markham, to take part in Operation Wallacea’s 2018 survey in July and August. John and Richard were charged with carrying out a full butterfly survey of the peninsula, a task that had not previously been undertaken. They were supported by expert SBBT associates Adam Cotton in Thailand and Dick Vane-Wright in UK.
Most importantly, SBBT was able to introduce Visheshni Chandra, a PhD student at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, to the project. Visheshni had already completed an MSc studying Papilio schmeltzii in the wild and proved to be an invaluable addition to the team.
Operation Wallacea has activities in many other sites rich in birdwings, swallowtails and other butterflies, and the Trust looks forward to working alongside “OpWall” as it is often known, in our shared objectives of research and conservation.
In cooperation with