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Green larvae on young Cassia javanica

May 21, 2010

This morning  when I pet a Cassia javanica baby, I could see it had lost numerous leaves. After a few seconds my eyes spot several green butterfly larvae and two pupae. Quite possibly this is the Common Emigrant, Catopsilia pomona (Pieridae), which has numerous adult forms. To make sure, I put a chicken cage made of bamboo, and covered with shade cloth, on top of the little seedling. When the butterflies hatch, the adults will dry their wings and then fly upwards (the excelsior complex). When I see them, I can identify them using the excellent book “Butterflies of Thailand” by Pisuth Ek-Amnuay.

To save the little Cassia javanica from too much pain, I simply transferred the larvae to a nearby large Gliricidia sepium (also of the family Fabaceae). Thereby Dokmai Garden will get pretty butterflies and a handsome C. javanica. Many Thai butterfly larvae like to eat food from the bean-family, why Cassia trees bring blossom and butterflies. 

Eric Danell

The larva of the Common Emigrant butterfly, Catopsilia pomona (Pieridae), feeds on members of the bean family. The Common Emigrant is sometimes migrating in masses, like in 2009. This year I have not seen the migratory behaviour.

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