Thu, Feb 12, 2009 at 9:25 AM
Hi WTB, could you tell me how long it takes for the hornworm catepillar (which enjoys devouring our tomato vines in late summer) to “morph” into what we call the tobacco / hummingbird moth, which we love watching flock by the 100s to our flower beds in the evening.
Either the Carolina Spinx, Manduca sexta, or the Five Spotted Hawk Moth, Manduca quinquemaculatus, would qualify for the name Tobacco Moth and the two are quite similar in appearance. Both are found in the Carolinas and the larvae of both feed on the same plants, including tomatos. Your photos are of the Carolina Sphinx, at least the photo that depicts the individual with the six yellow spots on the abdomen. Pupation may be as short as a few weeks, or it may last throughout the winter in the colder portions of the species range. Your action photos are wonderful.