File:Erebid moth caterpillar - "visited" by a tiny biting midge (detail) (8531861110).jpg

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Maybe the (orange) warning colouration (Aposematism) of the moth caterpillar is a sign that it contains Cantharidin Some kinds of Biting midges (Ceratopogonidae) are attracted to protective substances like cantharidin that some insects produce, e.g. Blister beetles (Meloidae). Maybe that was the reason for the biting midge to visit this caterpillar [commented by Bernhard Jacobi].

Literature (I do not have yet):

  • Frenzel, M; Dettner, K: Gnitzen (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) und Cantharidin. Die Gier nach einem außergewöhnlichem Naturstoff, Mitt. Dtsch. Ges. Allg. Angew. Ent., 10, 681-684 (1995)
  • Frenzel, M; Dettner, K; With, D; Waibel, J; Boland, W: Cantharidin analogues and their attractancy for ceratopogonid flies (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), Experientia, 48, 106-111 (1992)

Erebid moth caterpillar:

hint by itchydogimages: "Looks similar to my local Asota sp., Aganainae, Erebidae" more info:

Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Insecta (insects, Insekten) Subclass: Pterygota Order: Lepidoptera (butterflies & moths, Schmetterlinge) Suborder: Glossata Infraorder: Heteroneura Superfamily: Noctuoidea (owlet moths, Eulenfalter) Family: Erebidae Subfamily: Aganainae LAFONTAINE & FIBIGER, 2006 Genus: Asota HÜBNER, 1819 ? [det. "itchydogimages", 2013, based on this photo]

biting midges Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Insecta (insects, Insekten) Subclass: Pterygota Order: Diptera (Zweiflügler) Suborder: Nematocera (thread-horns, Mücken) Infraorder: Culicomorpha Superfamily: Chironomoidea Family: Ceratopogonidae (biting midges, Gnitzen oder Bartmücken) [det. Bernhard Jacobi, 2013, based on photos]

possibly: Subfamily: Forcipomyiinae LENZ, 1934, ♀

more info: and:

Indonesia, W-Java, 10 km S Tangerang: BSD (Kampung), 45m asl., 04.06.2011


Source Erebid moth caterpillar - "visited" by a tiny biting midge (detail)
Author gbohne from Berlin, Germany


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