Parasa lepida (Cramer, 1799)
Blue-striped Nettle Grub
(formerly known as Latoia lepida)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Parasa lepida
(Photo: courtesy of Masaki Ikeda, Japan)

These Caterpillars are initially white with a green stripe along the back. Later instars become green with double row of dark blue spots along the back. The head and tail each have a pair of red horns. The bodies are covered with stinging hairs. Overseas: the caterpillars are agricultural pests, feeding on crops from many plant families, including

  • Mango ( Mangifera indica, ANACARDIACEAE ),
  • Oil Palm ( Elaeis species, ARECACEAE ),
  • Ebony ( Diospyros ebenum, EBENACEAE ),
  • Cassava ( Manihot esculenta, EUPHORBIACEAE ),
  • Winged Bean ( Psophocarpus tetragonolobus, FABACEAE ),
  • Banana ( Musa species, MUSACEAE ),
  • Coffee ( Coffea species, RUBIACEAE ),
  • Cocoa ( Theobroma cacao, STERCULIACEAE ), and
  • Tea ( Camellia sinensis, THEACEAE ).

    The caterpillars grow to a length of abot 4 cms. They pupate in brown or purple papery oval cocoons in leaf litter or under the top-soil.

    Parasa lepida
    (Photo: courtesy of Vaikoovery, Mangalore, India)

    The adult moths of this species are brown with a green hairy thorax, and a broad green jagged band across each forewing. The hindwings are yellow shading to red at the margins. The males have a wingspan of about 3 cms. The females have a wingspan of about 4.5 cms.

    The pheromones of the female moths have been studied.

    The species occurs over much of the tropics and subtropics, including

  • China,
  • India,
  • Indonesia, and
  • Malaysia,

    It has been introduced accidentally into

  • Japan,

    and may also have been introduced accidentally into

  • Australia.

    If it is found, please call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline: 1800 084 881.

    Parasa lepida
    Drawing by Pieter Cramer, listed as Latoia lepida
    Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen,
    Amsterdam Baalde, vol. 2 (1782), Plate CXXX, fig. E,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    Further reading :

    Pieter Cramer,
    Description de Papillons Exotiques,
    Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen,
    Amsterdam Baalde, vol. 2 (1782), pp. 50-51, and also Plate 130, fig. E..

    George Francis Hampson,
    Lepidoptera: Moths,
    in W.T. Blandford (ed.):
    The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma
    Volume 1 (1892), p. 388, No. 859.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (written 13 April 2018, updated 23 April 2023)