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The butterfly man
Jonathon Middleweek with his Cairns birdwing butterfly

Amateur Albany lepidopterologist Jonathon Middleweek is the proud new father of one of Australia’s largest species of butterfly.

The Cairns birdwing hatched on Monday morning and despite eight years rearing butterflies at his home, it still has him awestruck.

The male specimen has a wingspan of 170mm and took 85 days to grow from pupae to butterfly.

“It’s an absolutely beautiful creature with fluoro green and iridescent lime green with black, some gold and a few red touches,” Mr Middleweek said.

Cairns birdwings are found in the tropics of northern Queensland, and Mr Middleweek has spent three years creating a tropical micro-climate in his butterfly enclosure.

That included growing rainforest vines as a food source for the hungry caterpillar as it grew and metamorphosed into a butterfly.

Mr Middleweek has about 70 butterflies from nine species in his garden, but his wish list contains many more wonderful varieties, including the mesmerising metallic blue Ulysses swallowtail, also known as the Blue Mountain butterfly.