The cinnamon butterfly (Chilasa clytia) is a major pest of cinnamon. They are foliage feeders and infestation occurs both in younger plantations and nursery. The incidence is generally seen during the post monsoon period and more severe during December-June when numerous tender flushes are present on the plants.
The adults are large, swallowtail butterflies with a wingspan of about 90 mm and occur in two forms. One has blackish brown wings with white spots on outer margins; the other has black wings with bluish white markings.
Adults lay eggs singly on the surfaces of tender leaves. The larval period, comprising of five instars, lasts for 11-17 days. Newly hatched larvae undergo various changes of colour pattern and mature to pale yellow with dark stripes. The fully grown larvae measure 2.5 cm in length with rows of red spots on the body and they eat away the cinnamon leaves. The pupal stage is cylindrical, brownish black and remains attached to the stem of the host plants. The complete lifecycle takes 24-36 days.
The larvae feed on tender and slightly mature leaves. In severe cases of infestation, the entire plant is defoliated with only midribs and portions of leaf veins remaining.
Larvae and pupae should be handpicked from trees where possible. Spray quinalphos 0.05% on tender and partly mature leaves in severe infestations. The eggs of the cinnamon butterfly are heavily parasitized by the egg parasitoid Telenomus remus.