Liberia’s Mystery Caterpillar Identified

The mystery catepillar that invaded Liberia and threatens to move to neighboring countries was determined not to be the “army worm“.

It’s now identified, according to this BBC story: “The insects, thought to be [army worms], are in fact the caterpillars of the moth Achaea catocaloides, says the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.” And it doesn’t sound much better than the other bug.

The report says the caterpillar infestation is the worst in Liberia since 1970 and has caused more than 20,000 people to evacuate their homes.

“As well as devouring coffee, cocoa and plantain crops, the invaders have polluted drinking water sources with their feces,” the BBC report says.

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One Response to “Liberia’s Mystery Caterpillar Identified”

  1. Jordana Diehl Says:

    I wonder what kind of environmental shift took place that allowed these caterpillars to reproduce so abundantly?

    Also I understand that pesticide seems like the best option for this problem since so many people are displaced, but wonder what the long-term effects of the pesticide might be on the foliage and the other animals who depend on it for it’s primary food source?

    It sounds like the UN Agriculture think-tank will be looking at their options and weighing the consequences to find the best solution. It is my hope that they in the process remember that all life is connected through the living web! We must do our best to avoid exchanging one problem for another.

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