Tomato Hornworm
( Manduca sexta )


2012-0922-34060002-LEP00466-Manduca_sexta[1330h00s,L,A,pinned]{EStrand}-G.jpg

IDENTIFICATION
Identification:Manduca sexta
(Linnaeus, 1763)
Common Name:Tomato Hornworm
Life Stage:A

PHYLOGENY

Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Superorder:Holometabola
Order:Lepidoptera
Family:Sphingidae
Subfamily:Sphinginae
Tribe:Sphingini
Taxon Code:LEP00466
ITIS TSN#:936100

LOCATION DETAILS
Location
73rd St, Sacramento
County:Sacramento Co. County
ECI Site#:CALIFMINOR

RECOGNITION
Adult: Large. Forewing gray with indistinct black lines and brown shading; usually has six pairs of yellow spots on abdomen. Hindwing small, banded black and white, with two black zigzag median lines very close together. Larva: large green body; dorsal horn (usually curved and orange, pink or red) on terminal abdominal segment; up to seven oblique whitish lateral lines, edged with black on upper borders.
Wingspan
Wingspan 90-120 mm
Body Length
Larva to 81 mm
Similar Taxa
The similar looking Tomato Hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata, has eight v-shaped stripes and a straight blue-black horn. These caterpillars are often confused and misidentified.

BIOLOGY
Several generations per year in the southern states; two generations per year farther north; larval development averages twenty days. Mature larvae drop to the ground and pupate underground.
Food
Larvae feed on leaves of potato, tomato, tobacco (Nightshade family--Solanaceae). Adults take nectar from deep-throated flowers, such as Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), moonflower (Calonyction aculeata), and petunia (Petunia hybrida).
Habitat
Varied, including fields, agricultural lands.
Active Period
Adults: May-October.
Importance
May be a pest on tomato or tobacco.
Range
Florida to Massachusetts, west through southern Ontario, Michigan, and Minnesota to Colorado and California. Ranges south through Mexico, West Indies, neotropics to Argentina.

HABITAT
Varied, including fields, agricultural lands.

CREDITS
Photographer
Erica Strand

REFERENCES
  • BugGuide [ IMAGES ]
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System TSN#936100


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