You could always purchase Banko specimens for 6500 dollars? Surprisingly there still there, I thought the Japanese would have snapped them up, with those prices there is going to be certainly more insects hunters heading there.
The Banko specimens are 2 of the ones the Japanese brought back with them. He is in Japan at the moment.
This species appears to be continuously broooded, so in the forest there will always be eggs, larvae and pupae as well as adults. I very much doubt that anyone could go in there for a few days and catch all of them. By the way, although the habitat in the photos here is on the Natewa Peninsula, it is NOT the same place as the type locality, so this species doesn't only occur in one exact spot.
Yes, I realized that those are the Japanese specimens Adam. Hopefully P. natewa will be found elsewhere in Fiji. On the maps that peninsular does not look that big? If I went there I would be tempted to visit those glorious beaches and relax. I believe Delias have not reached those islands.
Yes, to a certain extent they do, although I have only seen the same photos as everyone here. At a minimum they seem to confirm that natewa should belong to genus Papilio, despite the Leptocircini-like tails. One problem with analysing characters in a species like this is that it may show many plesiomorphic ("primitive") characters, and it is difficult to infer relationships based on those, unlike when two or more species share an obviously specialised character.
The larva and pupa look like the "Old World" half of genus Papilio rather than the Pterourus / Heraclides/ 'Chilasa' / 'Agehana' branch of the tree of genus Papilio, but the larva is so unusual it has obviously diverged long ago. Having said that, the small larva is superficially similar to P. anchisiades, but that is probably because it is shiny and brown rather than any true relationship. P. anchisiades larvae lack ornamentation which is obvious in all instars of P. natewa. As well as that difference P. anchisiades is gregarious, whereas natewa is solitary as obviated by the eggs being laid singly. Almost certainly this is a Gondwana relict species (the genus originated in Gondwanaland) which has been isolated for a very long time. That is why the appearance of the adult has characters similar to some African species as well as Asian ones. This may possibly give clues to help determine which wing pattern characters are actually older.
The larva refused to evert an osmeterium even when strongly stimulated, which is very unusual. I assume it must have one, since all Papilionidae from Baronia up do, but either it is never or rarely used or has become vestigial.
The pupa is also rather unusual, lacking well developed horns over the eyes and back of the thorax.
I look forward to hearing what Keith Wolfe thinks about this species, as he has seen very many more Papilio early stages than I have.
Thanks Adam; I'll basically repeat what I already mentioned privately. While the pupa has the typical look of numerous papilionids, the mature larva is most unusual – only Papilio gigon and P. euchenor, with their nymphalid-like head "horns" and sizeable "tails", come somewhat close in appearance. However, even these are otherwise morphologically very different, thus suggesting that, all life stages considered, P. natewa probably warrants a unique placement within Papilio if not a separate genus.
Thanks for posting your interesting opinion, I don't think that it is directly related to gigon and its relatives, and probably it is not directly related to euchenor either. Both of these are relatively ancient lineages too. Possibly the horns could be a 'primitive' character, hence they occur again in other species. For example here's a specimen of P. alphenor ledebouria with horns, which are not normally as well developed in other larvae of this Philippine taxon:
I am looking forward to the possibility of one day obtaining samples for DNA analysis, which we can then "plug in" to the wide range of species we already have and find out where it belongs genetically.
Hi Chuck, do you know how we can have a permit for Fidji ? I am not interested in butterflies but I would like to go there for Cetoniidae...
This goes for many developing countries, particularly in the Pacific:
Technically, one can write or email and ask permission. To further the chance that a permit is granted, one should submit a very specific project overview.
In reality, chances are you won't even get a reply. But you never know. It took Tennent six months to get a research permit for PNG, despite the fact that he'd already studied Solomons and Vanuatu, and he's John Tennent. I tried to get one for Palau, including having Palauan nationals call the office, and got zero response.
Hate to say, the best way to get a permit for field studies in many places is to go there first. Maybe the authorities will meet with you and hear you out, maybe they won't. If they don't you try to quickly build relationships and see if these new friends can get you in to meet with the granters. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. It is a very expensive risk, not just in money, but in time- it may take you a week just to talk to the right person. And then there is no guarantee you will get any permit. And, there may be one permit for field study, and yet another for export- and, perhaps Quarantine, etc etc.
One easier way to try (try because there's a low rate of success) is to contact the authorities way ahead of time looking for information. If your request sounds interesting, you may get a response. You may be able to engage them in communications and information sharing. That way when it's time to ask for a permit you have an established relationship.
In countries from which significant export is conducted (legal or otherwise) you can establish a relationship with sellers and leverage them (particularly when you're in country) to negotiate the permit. If they are exporting legally they have relationships with licensing officials and can be instrumental to getting the permits; even better, you may not need a license to conduct field study and then export on their permit. If they are illegal sellers, they probably have a deal with somebody in the Natural Resources anyway, otherwise they'd have been busted. Just be careful not to use somebody who is operating illegally without consent of NR as you could then be asking for big trouble- how do you know? You have to have or get a feel for this.
The other option is to show up as a tourist, catch bugs, and get out. One of the world's foremost lep researchers did just that, infuriated the NR office, which caused all sorts of hell for me when I showed up a month later- they were mad as hornets and there was a big sign "NO WILDLIFE PERMITS FOR ANYTHING" on the wall. Luckily I got them calmed down and got my permit.