Koror, Palau
Identification request
Two-horned caterpillar on Ficus sp.

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.


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Hi Joel,

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.


Hello Joel, The crow is an endemic from Palau. The only Euploea that really occurs on the island. It is a strange looking crow in the algea group (algea abjecta) but obviously is not really algea. Unique in that the larvae have only two pairs of filaments. These seem to be grouped into algea because of the character of the single sex brand on the forewing. I have reared algea violetta from Torres Strait, Australia and they have four pairs of filaments. Euploea algea algea is from Ambon, so we don't really know the number of filaments that the larvae of these have. If you have the reference, check out pages 155 and 227 in Ackery and Vane-Wright (1984). Algea is a dumping ground for several species. This life history should be documented. Any chance of getting life history photos and we could write it up ? In addition, they might not have five instars so this should also be recorded. I cannot imagine many people would have collected this taxon. Please give me your thoughts Regards Trevor A Lambkin

Here is a later instar of the same species.  It is about 3 cm. long.

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Thank you, gentlemen, for these replies.  This is very interesting.  Trevor A. Lambkin, please write to me at joelmiles52@gmail.com 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?


Hi Joel, I am not aware of a comprehensive checklist of insects for Palau. But you might find the following online resources useful: Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF): Insect Occurrence Records for Palau (9,545 records) https://www.gbif.org/occurrence/taxonomy?country=PW&taxon_key=216 Bishop Museum: Insects of Micronesia http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/pubs-online/iom.html You may also be interested in Schreiner and Nafus 1997: Butterflies of Micronesia http://guaminsects.myspecies.info/sites/guaminsects.myspecies.info/files/ButterfliesOfMicronesia.pdf All the Best, - Aubrey

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.