Achaea janata

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Achaea janata caterpillar (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Forest & Kim Starr
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Achaea janata (Linnaeus, 1758) - (castor semilooper, croton caterpillar)

This large moth is found mainly in southern parts of Asia, Australia and the Pacific. It is polyphagous and can attack a large variety of crops and plant species, e.g. castor beans or Croton species. Outbreaks with high pest densities have been often reported and these can lead to complete defoliation of the host plant, even resulting in plant death.

The caterpillars are up to 60 mm long, grey with lateral orange or red stripes. The adult moths have a wingspan of around 6.5 cm, with brownish forewings and a pattern of black and white on the hindwings.