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Tomato Hornworm

  
 
Shasoc
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Tomato Hornworm


This is a very large caterpillar with a horn-like tail that I found on a Thai chili pepper plant I was growing on a pot. This caterpillar is about two inches long: huge!. How it got on that plant I don't know. Probably was already there when I bought the plant.
It took about 10 hours to eat the whole plant, leaves and peppers. Only a few stems left.

It will eventually become a Five-spotted Moth. Amazing!

Socrate







Jun 11, 2022 at 11:22 PM
EverLearning
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Tomato Hornworm


What a unique and cool-looking subject! Very nicely captured too.

"It took about 10 hours to eat the whole plant, leaves and peppers."

First, you are such a gracious host. Second, did you put out some pepto bismol for it?

Don



Jun 12, 2022 at 09:07 AM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Tomato Hornworm


As a child I put one in a large jar with a stick. It cocooned and in time developed into a quite amazing moth. Rge whole process was very memorable. Well worth doing with any youngster in your life.


Jun 12, 2022 at 06:32 PM
Shasoc
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Tomato Hornworm


EverLearning wrote:
What a unique and cool-looking subject! Very nicely captured too.

"It took about 10 hours to eat the whole plant, leaves and peppers."

First, you are such a gracious host. Second, did you put out some pepto bismol for it?

Don


Thanks, Don. Like you said they are cool looking creatures, but they can be a pest as they can ruin a tomato crop in record time! as well eggplants, peppers, tobacco and potatoes. They blend in quite easily with the green foliage and feed non-stop. In the posted image I had to darken the whole setting to make the caterpillar more prominent. First time I see one of these.

Socrate



Jun 12, 2022 at 10:39 PM
Shasoc
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Tomato Hornworm


AuntiPode wrote:
As a child I put one in a large jar with a stick. It cocooned and in time developed into a quite amazing moth. Rge whole process was very memorable. Well worth doing with any youngster in your life.



Yes. I grow milkweeds in my back yard for the Monarch butterflies and I get a few cocoons I am able to follow until they disclose. An indescribable experience. This change of form from caterpillar to butterfly, or moth, is one of the most remarkable things in nature.

To see a caterpillar change itself into a chrysalis and then to reappear as a beautiful butterfly is sheer magic!

Socrate



Jun 12, 2022 at 10:48 PM
 


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lylejk
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Tomato Hornworm


The bane of my Dad when he was growing tomato plants (when I was a kid). These worms just showed up. When he stopped planting his victory garden, they disappeared. Makes me wonder if these monsters came from nowhere just to seek out tomatoes. lololol




Jun 15, 2022 at 10:27 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Tomato Hornworm


Nice specimen ... any shots with the chompers in action. Slow shutter, motion blur choppers, leaves in mouth, etc.


Jun 15, 2022 at 10:43 PM
Shasoc
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Tomato Hornworm


lylejk wrote:
The bane of my Dad when he was growing tomato plants (when I was a kid). These worms just showed up. When he stopped planting his victory garden, they disappeared. Makes me wonder if these monsters came from nowhere just to seek out tomatoes. lololol



Thanks, Lyle. They come from the eggs the mother-moth lays on the plant. They hatch after a few days and then they start working on the plant until they are ready to become a cocoon. By that time there is nothing left of the host plant

This is what is left of that plant. Didn't take the worm long to finish it up. About six hours. The few leaves you see are new growth.

Socrate







Jun 16, 2022 at 11:15 AM
Shasoc
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Tomato Hornworm


RustyBug wrote:
Nice specimen ... any shots with the chompers in action. Slow shutter, motion blur choppers, leaves in mouth, etc.





Thanks Kent. I didn't take many pic of this specimen. He seemed bothered from my presence. These creatures usually have twelve eyes, six on each side of the head, but they are very primitive eyes and can only see dark an light. What looks like an eye in the picture is actually a fake one.

Got a couple of shots. In the first one (heavy crop) you can see the mouth, which works like a garbage disposal, more then anything On the other end their only job is to eat. They can eat more than 25.000 their body weight!
Caterpillars have only six legs as you can see, the rest are some kind of suction cups to hold on the plant.

Socrate












Jun 16, 2022 at 11:28 AM







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