This year marks Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, and celebrations will be breaking out across the world in honour of the Queen’s 60-year reign. In true ARKive style, we decided to invite you to join in the occasion by choosing our top ten regal residents and telling you a bit about them!
Prince Ruspoli’s turaco
This beautiful bird would certainly look the part at a Jubilee street party, easily upstaging the red, white and blue bunting lining myriad gardens and parks! A resident of southern Ethiopia, the stunning Prince Ruspoli’s turaco mainly feeds on fruit…strawberries and cream, anyone?!
Queen Alexandra’s birdwing
With a wingspan of up to 28 centimetres, the strikingly marked Queen Alexandra’s birdwing is the world’s largest butterfly. This insect is a very picky eater and would be rather difficult to cater for at a Jubilee party, as it feeds from just one particular vine species, Aristolochia schlechteri.
The magnificent king cobra is the longest of all venomous snakes and, unlike its slithering relatives, this species does not hiss when threatened, but instead makes a distinctive growl. Even young king cobras might be somewhat unwelcome at a street party, given that when they hatch their venom is already as toxic as that of the adult cobra.
The queen triggerfish is a very regal-looking fish, with a flamboyant mixture of blue, green and yellow markings. This patterning can be light or dark, depending on the fish’s mood…we would hope to see ‘happy’ colours during the Jubilee celebrations!
This gaily coloured fish certainly wouldn’t miss any of the Jubilee action, as it is capable of moving its eyes independently of each other.
The royally named king penguin is the second largest penguin in the world and, being a gregarious species, certainly knows how to get the crowds gathering! Colonies of this species vary greatly in size, ranging from just 30 individuals to several hundred thousand; a true party animal!
Queen of the Andes
As well as having a spectacular flower spike which can grow up to an impressive ten metres in height, the Queen of the Andes is an amazing plant in many other ways. It can take between 80 and 150 years for it to flower; this means that if an individual had started growing at the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation back in 1953, it still may not flower for another 20 or more years!
Atlantic royal flycatcher
This dazzling Atlantic royal flycatcher has a fabulous array of brightly coloured crest feathers which would add some jazzy hues to any Jubilee celebration! As a bonus, this species is thought to eat insects, so it might be useful for getting rid of those pesky mozzies as the festivities swing on into the evening!
As the queen conch is most active at night, this species would be a useful addition to a Jubilee gathering, to ensure that the party continues well after the sun has gone down! However, this royal gastropod is not so regal when it comes to moving around; it uses a strange hopping motion, pushing itself off the sea floor and thrusting forwards.
The shimmering royal sunangel would be ideal for providing aerial entertainment in its elfin scrub home; thanks to a special wing structure, this Peruvian species is capable of performing intricate aerial manoeuvres, perfect for a royal fly-by! However, make sure you have an invite…the royal sunangel is somewhat territorial, and probably wouldn’t take too kindly to gate-crashers!
And finally, all good parties have some form of centrepiece, and as far as floral decorations go, few are more impressive than the king protea. The national flower of South Africa, this large species would be the talk of its fynbos shrubland habitat, providing a celebratory burst of colour fit for any royal event.
We hope those of you celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year have a wonderful time!
Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Species Text Author