What in the world is this???
Location: Central Texas
July 13, 2011 3:34 pm
I was uprooting my tomato plants when I saw this in the soil in the container (IE: not from the ground) At first glance, I thought it was just a small pine cone or something…until it MOVED. Thought it might be a ”stinger” on the end, so I didn’t touch it. Is it harmful? Is it some kind of larvae? What in the world is this?
Signature: Craig

Tomato Hornworm Pupa

Dear Craig,
You have unearthed the pupa of a Sphinx Moth in the genus
Manduca.  There are two species in the genus whose caterpillars feed on the leaves of tomatoes and related plants.  Gardeners sometimes call them Tomato Bugs and they are also frequently called Tomato Hornworms because of the prominent caudal horn.  The body part that seems to resemble the handle of a jug is the case for the long proboscis, the strawlike sucking mouth of the adult moth which enables it to draw nectar from deep throated flowers like honeysuckle.

Thanks Daniel!
After not having a CLUE what it was on my own investigation, I found your website.  Appreciate your expert identification.  It’s nice to finally but a name with a face…..or….bug… 😉
Thanks for your time!

Location: Texas

One Response to Tomato Hornworm Pupa

  1. Chris Bender says:

    Kalona iowa here, I just uncovered a hard shelled cucoon with a handle shaped tail. This website informed me that it is a tomato worm which was in the process of becoming a moth. It was found underground where we had our tomatoes planted last year. I set it aside while doing garden work and forgot about it and later tilled the ground. Needless to say, now can’t find it. Guess I’ll just have to be on the lookout for the nasty worms to come harvest the nutrient rich leaves which would otherwise provide me with juicy, delicious tomatoes.

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