Slug caterpillars, Limacididae Minimize

March 2005. Caterpillars from a banana in Vietnam.

They were identified as Scopelodes, Limacididae. In Indonesia, these caterpillars are common on coconut trees, and known as "ulat api"; there, the common species is Setoria nitens or slug caterpillars. In the Philippines, they occur on other crops, too; they are polyphagous, attacking a wide range of hosts. And slug caterpillars also occur in Central America (?Sibine sp.). They feed on leaves and generally do little damage. The caligo catepillars do far more, so much so, that the bunches are covered and insecticides used against them. They are very painful if touched. BT insecticides work well on these caterpillars. Thosea was also mentioned as a possibility for the Vietnam specimen.