Tomato Hornworm - Manduca quinquemaculata - Five Spotted Hawkmoth by MotherNature

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Tomato Hornworm - Manduca quinquemaculata - Five Spotted Hawkmoth by 

The only way I know how to differentiate this caterpillar from the Tobacco Hornworm is by the color of their “horn”. If black, it is the Tomato variety; if red, it is the Tobacco variety. This tiny little caterpillar is 1/2" long and I’m betting on it being the Tomato Hornworm. Cute little larva:>) The horn could turn color, however, as it progresses through various instars.

They are considered pests of the plants in the nightshade family or Petunias, too. We do pick them off our tomato plants and try to find something wild for them to chow down on, like nightshade. More often than not we see the eggs of a Braconidae wasp on the more grown up caterpillars, so many do not survive to adulthood in our area.

Here is a bit of a write up on them:

Taken with a Canon T4i and Tamron Sp 90 mm F/2.8 1:1 Macro lens, hand held and done by an amateur (brand new to DSLR as of April 2013).


tomato hornworm, manduca quinquemaculata, five spotted hawkmoth, caterpillar, moth, hornworm, larvae, green, tomato, insect, bug, nature

I love nature, science, poetry, prose, art, music – you name it! Now that I’m retired, time is mine to spend as I wish (pretty much), and I wish to take pictures of our natural world.

Bringing the outdoors in for others to see, especially those who may not get the opportunity to wander next to a pond, fish at the beach, or tramp in the woods, is a pleasure. I hope to build a window to the wonders of nature that fill our everyday lives.

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  • Manon Boily
    Manon Boilyabout 1 year ago

    oh… look at this little funny creature. well done MotherNature ;)

  • They have about 6 instars and end up as big as my little finger – ravenous creatures, too!

    – MotherNature

  • missmoneypenny
    missmoneypennyabout 1 year ago

    Great capture

  • Many thanks, mmp:>)

    – MotherNature

  • PineSinger
    PineSingerabout 1 year ago

    Great macro with fantastic write! Interesting!

  • You’re so lovely to visit and write this wonderful comment:>) Thank you!

    – MotherNature

  • Otto Danby II
    Otto Danby IIabout 1 year ago

    Great shot Carol, an interesting critter!

  • Hi, Otto:>) You’re such a gentlemen! I truly appreciate the great comment and the fave – many thanks!

    – MotherNature

  • Fiona Christensen
    Fiona Christensenabout 1 year ago

    25 July 2013

  • I’m tickled to death to be chosen for a feature in this wonderful group – thank you so much!

    – MotherNature

  • Qnita
    Qnitaabout 1 year ago

    Stunning close-up…

  • You are so kind, Qnita! Many thanks for both the wonderful comment and the have – both are greatly appreciated:>)

    – MotherNature

  • Lepidoptera
    Lepidoptera10 months ago

    November 17/2013
    Enjoy the day MotherNature with the Just Butterflies Featured Gallery.
    Wish you A Sunny Day with Butterfly Kisses,

  • This is an honor and I’m so pleased you like this little guy:>) Thank you!

    – MotherNature

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