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Tomato Hornworm

Manduca quinquemaculata

Photo © by Michael Plagens

This full grown caterpillar of the Five Spotted Sphinx, also known as the Tomato Hornworm, was found feeding on the leaves of Sacred Datura (Datura metaloides) in my Phoenix yard, Maricopa Co., Arizona. Sept. 28, 2002.

Sphingidae -- Sphinx Moth Family

Photo from Moths of Southeastern Arizona, Bruce Walsh

Adult Tomato Hornworm Moth. Moths of Southeastern Arizona.

If you grow tomatoes in your yard in the Sonoran Desert or almost anywhere else in North America this large moth will soon find them and lay eggs. The horn worms start out small and will go unnoticed as their green camouflage works quite well at concealment. Suddenly the grower will notice many. many stems with nary a leaf left. It is only then that the huge caterpillars appear and are identified as the ravenous culprit.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008