Leopard Lacewing Caterpillars from Malaysia Butterfly Farm

Subject: Caterpillar found in Penang Butterfly Farm
Location: Penang, Malaysia
February 6, 2016 4:20 am
Hello, I took this picture in 2011 at Penang Butterfly Farm, Malaysia, early February. I would be ever so grateful if you could identify it. I’ve been searching online and can’t find one that looks like it.
Kind regards,
Signature: Aeve Pomeroy

Leopard Lacewing Caterpillars

Dear Aeve,
We found your species of caterpillar, also taken at the Penang Butterfly Farm, pictured on the Tennyson Lee blog, but alas, it is not identified.  Onewayticketmsia also has an unidentified image from the Penang Butterfly Farm.  We eventually found the entire life cycle of the Leopard Lacewing,
Cethosia cyane, pictured on the Butterflies of Singapore site, and we are satisfied that is a correct identification.  According to the site:  “The local host plant adopted by Leopard Lacewing as it spread quickly across the island is Passiflora foetida, a member of the Passifloraceae family commonly found in wastelands. In captive setting, the Leopard Lacewing has also been breed succesfully on another plant in the same family, Adenia macrophylla var. singaporeana, a plant which only occurs naturally within the catchment reserves. This might account for the sightings of Leopard Lacewing in some areas of the nature reserves.  The caterpillars of the Leopard Lacwing feed on the leaves, young shoots and outer surface of older stems of the host plant. The Leopard Lacewing caterpillars are gregarious throughout all five instars, often eating (leaves and stems), resting and moulting together in groups.”  According to Butterfly Circle:  “the larvae and adult butterflies display a distinct warning coloration that advertises their unpalatable nature to potential predators. When handled, they often exude a noxious odor generated from the ingested passion vine organic compounds.”

Dear Daniel,
That’s wonderful you have found it! Thank you so much for taking time to do this, and for the information given.
You are welcome to keep the photo and use freely if it is useful for your website, or anything else. I also have a photo of the adult Leopard Lacewing if that might be useful too.
Have a great weekend,


Leave a Comment