Fijian Hawkmoth caterpillars
The Hawkmoth Cephonodes armatus is an endemic species to Fiji and The Mariana Islands in the South Pacific Ocean.
These photographs of their boldly coloured caterpillars were received from Drew Bristow on Drawaqa Island, Fiji where an infestation of them was defoliating mature trees.
Drew and fellow islanders were understandably concerned on possible damage caused to the trees. Hopefully, as is often the case following a caterpillar infestation, the trees will quickly recover.
It seems likely the pale caterpillar feeding with them is either an earlier instar or a different form of Cephonodes armatus larva but this has yet to be confirmed. The caterpillars were 50-60mm suggesting many were almost fully grown.
The adult moths are one of many different species of Bee Hawkmoths in the world wide Sphingidae family with veined, clear wings which hover and feed at flowerheads.
It is hoped that an update on the outcome of this caterpillar infestation and more information about this species will be added shortly.
Thanks to Drew for providing photographs and information and to Dan Herbison-Evans and Max Moulds in Australia for help with identification.
There is still much to learn about the early stages of many moths and butterflies. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate identifications and information errors can occur. Any additional information and photographs are welcome and will be added with accreditation.