Subject: Larva? Worm?
Location: South Africa Pretoria
December 28, 2012 9:01 am
Hello, i have difficulty identifying this insect and do not seem to find any information on it if can you kindly help me it will be of great help.
Signature: summer

Common Fig Tree Blue Caterpillar

Dear summer,
The best we can do without any research is that this is a Caterpillar, and we are not even certain if it will become a butterfly or moth though if we had to wager a guess, our first inclination is that it might be the caterpillar of a Slug Moth in the family Limacodidae.  Prior to any research, we are hoping to get additional information from you.  Where was it found?  What plant was it feeding upon?  When did you find it?  Please supply us with additional information which should aid our research.

Common Fig Tree Blue Caterpillar

Hello Daniel,
It feeds mainly on the growth points of the Ficus burkei and F.natalensis and have seen some leave damage but not that much and during the day they hide under the leaves and they are active at night, the location of it is in South Africa Pretoria or the highveld region thanks for the reply much appreciated
Regards, Marco

Update January 17, 2013:  Metamorphosis
Hello Daniel,
The caterpillar turned into this moth shocking to think such a strange caterpillar turns into a beautiful moth.
Kind regards

Common Fig Tree Blue

Hi Marco,
Thanks so much for the update.  We never expected this.  Our initial thought is that this must be a Skipper in the family Hesperidae, but the caterpillar looks more like a Gossamer Winged Butterfly in the family Lycaenidae.  Alas, our initial searches produced nothing and now we have no more time this morning to research this, but perhaps one of our readers will have some idea.

Karl identifies the Fig Tree Blue
Hi Daniel and Summer:
Like you, Daniel, I thought this was probably a Lycaenidae butterfly when the caterpillar was initially posted, but I couldn’t find anything to back that up. With this update posting I can say that I am fairly certain that it is a variety of Hairstreak or Strong Blue (Lycaenidae: Theclinae) in the genus Myrina. According to the African Butterfly Database the genus consists of only five genera, two of which (including three subspecies) occur in South Africa; the Lesser or Scarce Fig-tree Blue (Myrina dermaptera), and the Common Fig-tree Blue (Myrina silenus). The Common Fig-tree Blue looks like a closer match to me, and the caterpillar is a very good match as well. It really is a lovely butterfly. The “Field Guide: Butterflies of Southern Africa” has some good information about both species (page 182). Regards.  Karl

Location: Africa

2 Responses to Unknown Caterpillar from South Africa emerges as Common Fig Tree Blue

  1. Bugophile says:

    I think you have a Common Fig-Tree Blue, Myrina silenus. Wikipedia link I also found a Flickr image, A blurry “Garden Butterflies of South Africa” poster on the ButterflyGear site pointed me in this direction Truly an ugly duckling kind of metamorphosis!

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