Here is a little caterpillar I saw on a Ficus plant today - I don't know what species of Ficus. The head is to the right. It is a little over one centimeter long. I am rearing this and a couple more, so if I am successful I will share photos of the adult. I saw a butterfly laying eggs on other leaves of this plant, so I suppose this caterpillar will change into that butterfly.
It's going to be a species of Euploea (Nymphalidae: Danainae). I see there are two species of Euploea listed as present in Palau, E. eunice and E. algea, both of which are recorded as feeding on figs elsewhere in their range. I can only see images of later instars of these species on the web, so maybe yours will eventually grow the additional pairs of tentacles as it moults. Good luck with the rearing.
Here is a later instar of the same species. It is about 3 cm. long.
Thank you, gentlemen, for these replies. This is very interesting. Trevor A. Lambkin, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the possibility of inquiring further into this.
I have seen in responses to this and other inquiries I have made in the past references to insects being "listed" as being present in Palau? How does one get this information? Is there some sort of list of all insects reported from Palau? How does one access this list?
Joel, I got the list from Wikipedia, which in turn is based on peer-reviewed list from the very reliable John Tennant published in Zootaxa.
I'll see if we have the complete Tennant article on file here and will email it to you.
In case anyone is interested, here is the butterfly which is the adult of the caterpillar I posted earlier. It has been identified as Euploea abjecta, which is quite common in Palau.