Achaea janata

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Achaea janata
Achaea janata.jpg
Achaea janata (ento-csiro-au).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Genus: Achaea
Species: A. janata
Binomial name
Achaea janata
(Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Geometra janata Linnaeus, 1758
  • Noctua melicerta Drury, 1770
  • Noctua tigrina Fabricius, 1781
  • Noctua cyathina Macleay, 1826
  • Catocala traversii Fereday, 1877
  • Ophiusa ekeikei Bethune-Baker, 1906
  • Achaea traversii (Fereday, 1877)
  • Achaea tigrina Fabricius, 1775
  • Achaea melicerta Drury, 1773
  • Achaea ekeikei Bethune-Baker, 1906

The Castor Semi-Looper, Achaea janata, is a Noctuid moth, the caterpillars of which are termed 'semi-loopers' due to their mode of locomotion. They feed on Excoecaria cochinchinensis (Euphorbiaceae), [1] Castor Ricinus communis and both Brassica and Ficus species.[2] As they feed off the Castor Oil plant exclusively they are extremely poisonous and should be avoided at all costs.

It is found from the Indo-Australian tropics and subtropics, extending south to New Zealand and east through the Pacific archipelagoes to Easter Island.


The caterpillars are black in colour with white head and have a red knob on a tail. In the last stages the body turns brown or bluish-grey and the tail becomes black as well with the belly and the legs becoming orange.[3]


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