Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pest of the month: Common Crow Butterfly

This growing season a number of my bonsai trees have been attacked by caterpillars. I noticed that some of them belonged to moth families Noctuidae and Geometridae. However, I didn’t expect for one of my trees to be attacked by a butterfly. While styling a Ficus benjamina shown on the leftmost photo, I spotted several empty chrysalises attached to its leaves. After a quick look I found an unhatched chrysalis (photo in the middle). This is a chrysalis of the Common Crow Butterfly (Euploea core) and you can see how the adult butterfly looks like in the photo on the right. Common Crow caterpillars are orange and white with black stripes. Their striking appearance serves as a warning to predators. Ficus sap contains toxins such as ficusin and its derivatives are stored in the fatty tissues of the Common Crow caterpillars. These toxins make caterpillars distasteful to vertebrate predators. This also could be the reason why the chrysalis is so flashy.