janata Linnaeus, 1758, Syst. Nat.,
(Edn 10) 1: 527.
melicerta Drury,  1770, Illust. nat. Hist. exot. Insects,
tigrina Fabricius, 1781, Species Insectorum,
cyathina Macleay, 1826, Cat. Insects Coll. King pp
traversii Fereday, 1877, Trans. N. Z. Inst.,
ekeikei Bethune-Baker, 1906, Novit. zool.,
Achaea janata Linnaeus;
Kobes, 1985: 39.
The species is smaller than serva and allies and has a broader white medial band on the hindwing.
On the underside, the forewing has a distinct pale band medially, flanked by
dark areas, and the hindwing has a prominent dark subtornal patch that is only
weakly developed in serva.
range. Indo-Australian tropics and subtropics, extending south to New
Zealand (regular immigrant) and east through the Pacific archipelagoes to Easter
preference. All records have been from disturbed or open habitats in the
The life history and highly variable larva has been described and sometimes
illustrated by many authors: Moore (1884-1887), Sevastopulo (1939, 1946),
Gardner (1941, 1947), Comstock (1966), Holloway (1977), Murphy (1990), Kuroko
& Lewvanich (1993), Tanahara & Tanahara (2000) and Bell (MS). There may
be some regional variation, so the descriptions summarised below span the range
of the species and draw particularly on illustrated accounts.
Okinawa, Tanahara & Tanahara (2000) illustrated a larva with a black head
that has pale cream patches on each side; such patches also occur on the
exterior of the prolegs. These markings appear to be common to all forms. The
body is dorsally dark brown with a paler band with even paler edges just below
this dorsal zone that contains black ocellate spots at the centre of each
segment. Below that there is a dark band that is bounded dorsally by a red line
that runs just below the spiracles, and ventrally by a pale yellow line.
Ventrally the larva appears to be fawn.
Moore (1884-1887) illustrated and Bell (MS)
described several variants from India, one of which appears similar to the
Okinawa one, and another similar to that from Singapore described below, but
there is also a form that is light yellow, marbled and striped with grey and
brown. All these forms have a velvety black saddle-like spot at the front of A2,
on the membrane between it and A1. This is exposed when the body is humped at
that point; in the yellowish form this black spot incorporates a white and
orange spot anteriorly and a yellow one posteriorly, and there are further black
spots dorsally and laterally on each segment. The tubercles on A8 are bright
& Lewvanich illustrated pale grey and blackish brown forms in Thailand. The
former is stippled with black that becomes more intense down to the level of the
legs where it terminates on a thin black line with a cream one below; there is a
broken, dull orange line through the spiracles. The latter has the ocellate
marks within a more brownish stripe, and the orange spiracular line is stippled
larva from Singapore mangrove illustrated by Murphy (1990) is a much more
uniform, though slightly variegated, medium reddish brown larva, the colour
being made up of dense, fine, dark stippling on a paler ground.
(1966) illustrated a larva very similar to that from Singapore as the typical
form in American Samoa, describing it as pale pinkish brown, with some tendency
for the stipple to form longitudinal banding. There is also a melanic form where
the body is black with a series of irregular, broken, longitudinal, orange-red
and yellow lines. The ventral surface is orange with a yellow marginal line. In
both forms the tubercles on A8 are bright red.
young larva is ivory white on hatching (Bell, MS), and moves like a leech.
it usually has the body slightly looped from T3 to A3, lying along a twig, stalk
or leaf midrib. The pupa is formed in a fairly roomy, ovoid cell of leaves drawn
together with silk. The pupa has a bluish white bloom.
(1990) and Robinson et al. (2001) have listed a diverse array of host plants from about
thirty families, with the Euphorbiaceae (especially Ricinus;
Common, 1990) and Leguminosae being particularly favoured: Araucariaceae (Agathis,
Convolvulaceae (Ipomoea); Cruciferae (Brassica,
Dipterocarpaceae (Shorea); Euphorbiaceae (Acalypha,
adult pierces fruit (Bänziger, 1982; Kuroko & Lewvanich, 1993).
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