Tomato Hornworm—Manduca quinquemaculata

Tobacco Hornworm—M. sexta

Tomato and tobacco hornworms are large caterpillars, up to 4 inches long. Their name comes from the prominent "horn" on the rear. They are difficult to see, tend to be active at night, and consume large amounts of foliage, so they may do a lot of damage before being detected. They feed primarily on solanaceous plants: tobacco, tomato, eggplant, pepper, potato and certain weeds. The adults do not do any damage.

tomato hornworm larvae
Tomato hornworm larvae have eight V-shaped marks on each side and a blue-black horn.

tobacco hornworm larvae
Tobacco hornworm larvae are green with seven diagonal white lines on the sides and a curved red horn.

parasitized hornworm
Hornworm larvae parasitized by the braconid wasp should be left alone. The wasp will kill the individual and lay eggs in others.

tomato hornworm adult
The adult of the tomato hornworm is the five-spotted hawk moth.

The adult of the tobacco hornworm is the sphinx moth.

hornworm larvae
Hornworm larvae are very difficult to see and may do a lot of damage before being detected.

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Identification and Control Information

[Photos, left to right: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,; Alton N. Sparks, Jr., University of Georgia,; Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,; Forest & Kim Starr, U.S. Geological Survey,; R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Slide Set, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company,; Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,]