Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Eupanacra elegantulus Life History

The life history of the hawkmoth Eupanacra elegantulus. This hawkmoth is quite commonly found in urban gardens. The caterpillar host plants appear to be species from the aroid family like varieties of Dieffenbachia, Syngonium and Monstera deliciosa which are all commonly cultivated in Singapore gardens.

Very young Eupanacra elegantulus caterpillars on the underside of a leaf from their host plant. The caterpillars probably stay on the underside of the leaves to boost their chances of escaping predation.

A second-instar caterpillar.

The young caterpillars are slender, pale green with a straight pale pink spine at the end of their bodies.They have poorly developed false eyespots at this stage. They feed while on the underside of leaves to conceal themselves from predators. When they are not feeding the caterpillars rest near the base of the stems of the hostplant, blending in well as can be seen above.

A freshly molted last instar caterpillar. the straight spine has been replaced with a shorter hook. The false eyespots are now prominent and there are scale-like markings on the head, possibly to imitate a snake to fool potential predators.

There are both green and brown forms of the final instar caterpillars.

The caterpillars feed voraciously and grow rapidly. And they become really fat.

Pre-pupae. The caterpillar usually spins a loose cocoon of silk, including some debris for added protection.

Final molt to become a pupa.

Fresh pupa. It looks rather like a giant maggot. It soon darkens to brown.

Pupae. The pupae are quite mobile and are invariably curved at the end.

Freshly emerged moth. Eupanacra elegantulus is not brightly coloured but nonetheless is intricately marked in lovely shades of brown.


Underside. The underside is quite beautiful, particularly the shimmering coppery scales adorning the sides of the body.


Thomas said...

I'm a PhD student from Canada studying in eyespots and snake mimicry in caterpillars. These are wonderful photos! Have you ever seen the caterpillar of E. regularis or do you know how similar it is to E. elegantulus? What other caterpillars have you come across that have eyespots? Also, you might be interested in my blog: http://caterpillar-eyespots.blogspot.ca/

Anonymous said...

Hai I'm Rizky Marcheria Ardiyanti from Indonesia. I want to ask you about Eupanacra elegantulus. What you find in this caterpillar and what season? and can you help me, how i can get journal or papper or link about this caterpillar?because I'm currently researching the biology of this caterpillar to finish my final project in an undergraduate. I hope you can help me for providing information about it. Thank you so much

Jana Ng said...

sorry to go so far back into your blog,but i have a caterpillar which has a horn like a hawk moth but dark brown with pink and white stripes and feeds solely on sweet potatoes-could it be part of the hawk moth family?thanks.