Tobacco Hornworm (North Carolina)

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Tobacco Hornworm (North Carolina)

Photo Description
I found this hornworm on my tomatoes. It was found earlier by the braconid wasp. The wasp laid its eggs inside the moth. As you can see in the picture, the egg larvae have emerged to the worm's surface where they have spun little cocoons around themselves and attached them to the worms outer surface.


There is both a Tomato Hornworm and a Tobacco Hornworm. I'm not sure which is pictured. Both will feed on the tomato plant. The mature worms have distinct markings, making it easy to determine which horn worm is being observed.

At the stage of development of the pictured worm, these markings are less distinct and what with these markings being obscured by wasp cocoons, it is difficult to determine which worm I captured with my camera. With it's display of tiny red dots, I'm guessing it is a Tobacco Hornworm. Perhaps a more knowledgeable ThriftyFun member could share their thoughts.

Whichever, little fella, happy munching. I'm sure you'll be glad when all those cocooned larvae mature into adult wasps and fly away.

Photo Location
North Carolina


Editor's Note: This post was updated after publication with corrected information. The author misidentified the larvae, which might make the feedback below confusing.

Tomato vs Tobacco Hornworm

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November 11, 20130 found this helpful

The eggs on that worms back is that of a small wasp which feeds on the worm until it dies. They are parasites that keep the worm under control.

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November 16, 20130 found this helpful

In Arkansas, we all it a tomato hornworm, and in spite of their bright color, they can hide very well on a tomato plant and strip it of lots of leaves in just one night. But granny is right.


If you see one with the little white eggs attached, leave him be as he will soon be dead. But if you see leaf damage on your plants, try to find the culprits and remove them.

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July 5, 20150 found this helpful

Patricia Hamm

Here it is a year and a half since you posted your feedback and I am just now seeing it. What you said causes mixed emotions in me. I like to be right. I like to be well informed. It sorta hurts when you are told what you believe is not true.

On the other hand, it makes me feel good to learn more correct information. Thank you for setting me straight and for letting ThriftyFun members know what really is going on in the picture.



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July 14, 20150 found this helpful

Harlean G,

I believe this is a tobacco hornworm. That's why I was wondering what it was doing on my tomatoes. It closely resembles the tomato hornworm. Jess has promised an amendment to this post. In that amendment, you can see how similar the two worms are.

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July 16, 20150 found this helpful

This post has been updated with the corrected information. Thanks for all the great feedback, ThriftyFun community. :)

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