A RARE and beautiful butterfly once common to the Northern Rivers has been sighted again in the Tweed hinterland.
Weather conditions have been ideal for a mass hatching of Richmond Birdwing butterflies, with sighting of the colourful insects in Uki, Tyalgum, Limpinwood and Upper Duroby in recent weeks.
The species, which are in various colourful combinations including black and yellow, black blue, and black and green, are listed as vulnerable in Queensland and as a critical priority with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
Tweed residents have been enthralled by their sudden appearance.
Artist Andy Reimanism was inspired by the butterflies to create a small painting which he shared on social media this week, while Uki Gardening Club's Tony Stanhope took stunning photographs of the creatures.
Tweed Shire Council bushland officer John Turnbull confirmed sightings of the butterflies were "reasonably uncommon” and driven by good conditions for the vine flowers on which they feed in the border rangers.
"A considerable effort has been under way for 30 years to reintroduce vines into suitable habitat,” Mr Turnbull said.
"Of the two vines Pararistolochia praevenosa is listed as Near Threatened whereas P. laheyana is listed as Least Concern.”
In the past, Tweed Shire Council has propagated the vines and sold them to the public.
Pararistolochia praevenosa and P. laheyana are available from native plant nurseries.