Palm king caterpillar (Amathusia phidippus phidippus) threat display

Foo Jit Leang sent in a composite picture of a Palm King butterfly caterpillar (Amatusia phidippus phidippus) that exhibited a threatening display. This strategy uses sudden flashing of the eye spot or false mouth opening to scare the potential predator away. This butterfly feeds on sugary meals, fermenting fruits, dung and dead animals.  As its name suggests, it is usually found in the vicinity of coconut palms.


Photo 1: When at rest, the Palm King caterpillar lies flat under a leaf and tugs its head, using the hairs as a cover.

Photo 2: When disturbed, It raises the hairs.

Photo 3: Lifts up its head.

Photo 4: Lifts up its head, and bends, exposing a black spot (false eye / mouth?) on its thorax.


Photos and captions by Foo Jit-Leang

9 November 2021.


This post is a cooperative effort between Nature@ Seletar Country Club and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behaviour through photography and videography to a wider audience.



  1. by Butterfly Circle
  2. A field guide to the Butterflies of Singapore by Khew Sin Khoon © 2010
  3. Biodiversity of Singapore: An encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development © 2011 Edited by: Peter KL Ng, Richard T. Corlett and Hugh T. W. Tan

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