Subject: Sphinx moth or tomato?
Location: SW New Mexico – near Silvercity
February 7, 2017 9:01 am
Greetings, I thought this was a sphinx moth caterpillar but someone else suggested it was a tomato worm. BTW – there were definitely sphinx moths out the same day that I took this photo. But there was also a different kind of horn worm out there also.
Sphinx Moth Caterpillars and “Tomato Worms” are not mutually exclusive because several species of Sphinx Moths have larvae that feed on tomato and other plants in the family, and the larvae are known as Hornworms. Your individual appears to be the dark form of Manduca quinquemaculata, the Five Spotted Hawkmoth and its larva is known as the Tomato Hornworm which appears in both green and dark forms. You can compare your individual to this very dark individual pictured on BugGuide.
Thanks – I took the photo a while ago and I didn’t get pictures of what it was feeding on. A friend is writing an archaeological report on sphinx moths and datura and wanted to make sure she was getting the photos labeled correctly. I will pass on the info to you.