Caterpillars on castor oil seeds, Fiji Minimize

September 2010. A request from Fiji (SPC) for the identification of caterpillars infesting castor seeds. The larvae were boring into the seeds and causing leaf damage on a 660 ha farm in Dreketi, Labasa.


In general, it was said that the castor leaf-feeding caterpillar is Achaea janata; and the pod boring caterpillar may be Conogethes (Dichocrocis) punctiferalis.


Another member, referring to the photo thought that the caterpillar, upper left (photo on the right), is probably Helicoverpa armigera, whereas the others seem to be a semi-looper, in which case they are probably Achaea janata, often called the Castor oil looper.  There is plenty of information for both on the Internet.