Difference between revisions of "Chilades pandava"

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Prepared by Aubrey Moore, Entomologist, University of Guam
 
Prepared by Aubrey Moore, Entomologist, University of Guam

Revision as of 16:07, 2 December 2016

Prepared by Aubrey Moore, Entomologist, University of Guam

Chilades pandava ovipositing on emerging Cycas micronesica foliage. Photo by Aubrey Moore; Ritidian Point, Guam: 24 May 2006.
Chilades pandava eggs on emerging Cycas micronesica foliage. Photo by Aubrey Moore; Ritidian Point, Guam: 24 May 2006
Close-up of Chilades pandava egg. Photo by Aubrey Moore; 23 May 2006.
Early instar Chilades pandava larva. Photo by Thomas Marler; Ritidian Point, Guam; 14 SEP 2005.
Late instar Chilades pandava larva with attendant ant, Anoplolepis gracilipes, on Cycas micronesica. Photo by Thomas Marler; Ritidian, Guam; 14 Sep 2005.
Chilades pandava feeding on Bidens pilosaor B. alba(Ask McConnell for verification). Photo by Aubrey Moore, Ritidian Point, Guam, 13 Sep 2005. (Note damage to right forewing.)
Chilades pandava with open wings. Photo by Thomas Marler; Ritidian Point, Guam; 14 Sep 2005.

Common Name(s)

cycad blue butterfly, plains cupid

Taxonomy

  • Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies)
    • Family: Lycaenidae (coppers, hairstreaks, blues)
      • Species: Chilades pandava (Horsfield)

Synonyms

  • Edales pandava (Horsfield)

Host(s)

  • Cycas revoluta (sago palm)
  • Cycas micronesica (fadang)

Biology

Caterpillars of the cycad blue butterfly, Chilades pandava, were first detected on Guam in 2005 feeding on two species of cycad: fadang, Cycas micronesica and sago palm, C. revoluta (A. Moore 2005). Previously, they were found on Saipan in 1996 feeding on C. revoluta (Schreiner & Nafus 1997). They were found on Rota in 2006 (Badilles 2006) and on Tinian in 2006 (Marler 2007). The native range of this species is Sri Lanka to Thailand and eastern Indonesia. It was first recorded on the island of Mauritius in 2000 and caused the death of many cycad plants there (MacDonald et. al 2003).

Eggs, which are pale green in color, are laid singly on newly emerging fronds before the leaves open. They are very small, but can be easily seen with the aid of a hand lens. Early instar larvae are purple and later instar larvae are green. The caterpillars feed only on new foliage before it hardens.

High populations of cycad blue butterfly caterpillars result in complete defoliation of new foliage. Repeated defoliation may lead to plant mortality. Cycads on Guam are currently very susceptible to mortality because many have lost most or all of their leaves due to a severe infestation of the cycad Aulacaspis scale, Aulacaspis yasumatsui. Loss of cycads from scale infestation has resulted in Guam's endemic, Cycas micronesica, being added to the Red List of Threatened Species maintained by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) (Marler et al. 2006).

Late instar larvae of Chilades pandava are often attended by ants belonging to several species. Ant associations are common within the family Lycaenidae (Australian Museum Online 2006). Ants protect larvae from parasites and predators in return for a sugary liquid exuded from special glands on the caterpillars' backs. Several species of ants have been observed to attend Chilades pandava on Guam and Saipan.

Control Recommendations

Defoliation caused by cycad blue butterfly larvae may be prevented by weekly applications of microbial insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki such as Dipel®*. These insecticides only kill feeding caterpillars and do not harm other organisms.

University of Guam scientists are planning tests of injectable insecticides such as Abacide2®* for longterm protection of cycads.

Effective natural control of Chilades pandava by predators or parasites has not been observed on Guam. An egg parasite, Trichogrammatoidea guamensis, has been found, but the proportion of eggs parasitized is very low (Moore 2006). Protection of larvae by attendant ants may hinder establishment of effective biological control for this invasive species

References

Australian Museum Online 2006.
http://www.amonline.net.au/factsheets/lycaenid.htm

Badilles, A. 2006. Personal communication.

CABI Crop Protection Compendium Online login
http://www.cabicompendium.org/cpc/datasheet.asp?CCODE=CHLAPA

Macdonald, I.A.W., J.K. Reaser, C. Bright, L.E. Neville, G.W. Howard, S.J. Murphy & G. Preston (eds.) 2003. Invasive alien species in southern Africa: national reports & directory of resources. Global Invasive Species Programme, Cape Town, South Africa.
http://www.gisp.org/downloadpubs/SOUTHERN.PDF

Marler, T. 2007. Unpublished observations.

Marler, T., Haynes, J. & Lindstrom, A. 2006. Cycas micronesica. In: IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. http://www.iucnredlist.org Downloaded on 26 May 2006.

Moore, A. 2005. Unpublished observations.

Moore, A. 2006. Unpublished observations.

Schreiner, I.H. & D.M. Nafus 1997. Butterflies of Micronesia. University of Guam Press.
http://www.micronesianinsects.com/PUB/ButterfliesOfMicronesia.pdf

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