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caterpillar, New Guinea clipper

Parthenos aspila

Description:

A truly bizarre caterpillar, an ambulatory thorn thicket of a critter! Very likely Parthenos aspila. Adults of Parthenos aspila spotted in the same general locale during the same time period can be seen here http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/141... and http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/147...

Habitat:

Spotted on vegetation along transect in secondary coastal lowland mixed freshwater swamp forest/sago swamp forest.

Notes:

The cloth material you see is an upside-down kiddie umbrella we were using to look for micro weevils. Shake a bush and theoretically they are captured in the funnel of the umbrella. We didn't find any of those but got plenty of other cool stuff like this! I did not dare touch it...

1 Species ID Suggestions

midsize Clipper
Parthenos spp. Parthenos


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25 Comments (1–25)

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

Adults of Parthenos aspila (the likely species of this caterpillar) spotted in the same general locale during the same time period can be seen here http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/141... and http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/147...

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

I am going with Parthenos aspila. Thanks EarlyStages for pointing the way!

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

@EarlyStages Parthenos aspila http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/141... This must be the species then...?

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

Oh sorry, of course you do! I have not knowingly ever personally seen the beautiful Parthenos sylvia (but it has the widest distribution, e.g. ftp://ftp.funet.fi/index/Tree_of_life/insecta/lepidoptera/ditrysia/papilionoidea/nymphalidae/limenitidinae/parthenos/index.html#NHM ). In your link Parthenos tigrina, is shown from "Timika" which is separated from my spotting locale by a high range of mountains that divides northern from southern New Guinea. But I also found a record from the Arfak region which implies a wider distribution. I don't think I have seen it. I found a locale for Parthenos aspila in northern PNG (next door) and I have a spotting to upload from this locale that shows only part of the wings from below, that "may be" this species.

EarlyStages
EarlyStages 9 years ago

Yes, I know that, but am wondering which species is resident at your "beating" site – surely not all three.

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

Thanks so much Leuba!

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

Thanks very much EarlyStages. There are 3 species on the Papua list:

Parthenos Hübner, 1819
sylvia (Cramer, 1775)
ssp. guineensis Fruhstorfer, 1898

tigrina Snellen van Vollenhoven, 1866
pardalis Fruhstorfer, 1909
ssp. tigrina Snellen van Vollenhoven, 1866

aspila Honrath, 1888

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 9 years ago

Amazing ! -is he trying to mimic a thorny bush or salt bush I wonder. Another reat spotting from you Scott !! thanks

EarlyStages
EarlyStages 9 years ago

For example . . .
http://home.comcast.net/~bflyearlystages...
http://ifoundbutterflies.org/3-lepidopte...

Scott, another excellent spotting! Any way to find out which Parthenos fly there?
Dan, close but no cigar – sorry to disappoint!

Elizabeth Colley
Elizabeth Colley 9 years ago

Thanks

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

Hey Thanks, no problem! We all learn here!

Elizabeth Colley
Elizabeth Colley 9 years ago

Oh ok, sorry, still learning

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

Thanks Elizabeth. They do look a bit similar but I believe that species is North American. This individual was spotted in New Guinea rainforest.

Elizabeth Colley
Elizabeth Colley 9 years ago

Hi S Frazier, I might well be barking up the wrong tree here, but though I should mention it anyway. This looks very much like the Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) caterpillar. Wiki does not give an image for the caterpillar, but if you Google it under 'images' there are lots of photos of this caterpillar (with these almost antler-like spikes). The region it was found in fits too.

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

Thanks Dan! Hopefully EarlyStages can help ID this.

dandoucette
dandoucette 9 years ago

Very cool! I think you're right thinking it's a species of Acraea. As soon as I saw it I thought of this spotting, identified by Early Stages.
http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/112...

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

I just measured the "landmarks" on the umbrella, so I would say 18-22 mm long.

EarlyStages
EarlyStages 9 years ago

Scott, do you remember its approximate length or size?

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

I wonder if this might be related to Acraea (meyeri)?

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

Thank you!

Stian Waaler
Stian Waaler 9 years ago

Great pictures!

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 9 years ago

Thanks everyone!

MayraSpringmann
MayraSpringmann 9 years ago

Nice macro!

AnnvanWijgerden
AnnvanWijgerden 9 years ago

Wow, great series! (Especially like last photo!) Totally don't blame you for not touching this "ambulatory thorn thicket"!!

Jeannette
Jeannette 9 years ago

Awesome :)

Scott Frazier
Spotted by
Scott Frazier

Indonesia

Spotted on Jun 14, 2012
Submitted on Jun 18, 2012

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