Setora nitens
[Coconut Nettle Caterpillar]
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This spiny nettle caterpillar was seen on 4 August 2012 at Mandai area. It was the second nettle caterpillar sighted. The first one was a much smaller caterpillar seen on 11 May 2012 along the Tree-top walk trail. Up till now, I am still not able to link a name to that caterpillar (more information on the other caterpillar are available below).

As the common name of Setora nitens implies, this caterpillar is expected to feed on the leaves of the coconut palm or members of the palm family. To be exact, it is considered to be one of the major pests of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis). However, the one that I saw was actually feeding on Ilex cymosa. Although there was a report [1] that this caterpillar feeds on a variety of food source, Ilex cymosa was not mentioned.

The caterpillar belongs to a moth from the family Limacodidae. Some common names of this moth are slug moth and cup moth.


[1] Lim GK, Fook K. New records of alternative host plants for oil palm nettle caterpillar Setora nitens Walker in Sabah, Malaysia [Abstract]. Pages 609-611 in Cuttingedge technologies for sustained competitiveness: Proceedings of the 2001 PIPOC International Palm Oil Congress, Agriculture Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 20-22 August 2001. Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Kuala Lumpur.

This is the tiny nettle caterpillar seen along the Tree-top walk trail. It may be an early instar of Setora nitens.

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The caterpillar was found on the underside of a leaf from an unknown plant (pictures below).

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Below are 2 reports on nettle caterpillars found in Singapore.

[1] Leong TM. Final instar caterpillar and metamorphosis of Birthosea bisura (Moore, 1859) in Singapore (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae). Nature in Singapore 2010;3:125-131. | Read article |

[2] Leong TM, D'Rozario V. Final instar caterpillar and metamorphosis of Thosea vetusta (Walker, 1862) in Singapore (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae). Nature in Singapore 2010;3:305-310. | Read article |