Caterpillars of the
World - Singapore
Superfamily - NOCTUOIDEA
subfamily - CALPINAE
Tribe - OPHIDERINI
Gan Cheong Weei
are between 25-48 Othreis species
depending on taxonomic viewpoint. Some authorities for example
include all Othreis species within
another genus Eudocima. The taxon has
representatives in almost all regions of the world.
Eudocima ) fullonia is
distributed from India to Malaysia, Borneo, the Philippines,
Palawan, Sulawesi, New Guinea and north-east Australia. There also
exists a specimen in the Bavarian State Museum allegedly from Ghana
but this may be mislabelled.
species is found in forests, orchards, parks, gardens and many other
habitats at altitudes between sea level and about 1000m.
very strange looking larva feeds on creepers including
Tiliacora, Stephania and
Triclisia ( Menispermaceae ); and on
Erythrina ( Fabaceae ).
larvae normally rest on the underside of leaves where they go
unnoticed by predators, but if threatened in any way they react by
lifting the tail and arching up and bloating the front segments.
They then rock aggressively from side to side, "threatening" the
perceived enemy with prominent false eyes.
forewings of the moth are marked in a bark-like pattern, while the
hindwings are bright yellow, marked with black. This is an example
of "flash coloration", a defence against avian predators. If a
foraging bird accidentally disturbs it the moth takes flight, and
the bird chases after what appears to be a bright yellow moth, but
as soon as Othreis settles on a tree
trunk it covers the hindwings beneath the bark-like forewings and
becomes virtually invisible. The bird continues to look for the
yellow "search image" and the moth survives.
The adult moth is a
serious pest in Asia, feeding on the juices of many commercially
grown fruits. It's proboscis is about 2.5cms long, and strong enough
to pierce the skin of apples, apricots, bananas, figs, grapefruit,
guava, kiwifruit, mangoes, melons, oranges, papaya, passion fruit,
peaches, pineapple, star fruit and tomatoes. Fruit damaged by the
moth becomes soft, mushy and unsaleable. Additionally the moth is a
known vector of Oospora citri, a fungus
that rots the fruit.