March 2013 Pest of the Month – Croton Caterpillar (Achaea janata)

  • Distribution:  Widespread throughout the tropical and subtropical Pacific, in Australia, and Asia
  • Hosts: Croton, castor bean, Ficus, macadamia, and others. 
  • Damage: Caterpillar feeds on the leaves of hosts, leaving veins and petioles
  • Control
       (a) There are several biological controls in Hawaii.
       (b) Some chemical control has been achieved using pyrethroids insecticides.

Achaea janata (Linnaeus), by Ronald F.L. Mau and Jayma L. Martin Kessing, Crop Knowledge Master, University of Hawaii, March 1991, revised May 1992.  Updated by J.M. Diez April 2007.


Croton caterpillar on castor bean. Image by Forest and Kim Starr, Starr Environmental,