It’s been a terrible summer for the vegetable garden: too much rain, not enough sun, and unchecked parasites. While weeding the garden the other day Judy called to me: “You have to see this!” When I entered the garden she said “look!” and pointed at a denuded branch of a tomato plant. It took a moment to spot this cute l’il feller:
Feasted unmolested for weeks this hefty beast had grown to about 4″ long, To learn its name I entered this search string: <creepy tomato bug>. Google’s first hit led to a page with “tomato hornworm” in the first paragraph, a name that squarely hit most of this bug’s particulars: “Ma’am, can you describe your assailant?” “Well, he was a worm . . . green . . . eating a tomato branch . . . and he has a horn on one end.” A search of <tomato hornmorm> confirmed this to be Manduca quinquemaculata, which grows into the Five-Spotted Hawk Moth.
When I disposed of the intruder I half expected it to hiss at me like the Aliens monster, which would have stopped my heart. It took its fate quietly, munching on the branch and dreaming, no doubt, of metamorphosis. One more view: