Sphinx Moth Pupa

spinx moth
Location: Marshalltown, IA
April 18, 2011 11:06 am
While pulling weeds (wild mustard) in the hoophouse today, up popped a chryslis of what I am guessing is a spinx moth of some sort. It is alive and very active. I am wanting to provide it with the proper conditions to allow it to ”hatch” and get a few fabulous photos before setting it free. What do you suggest for success?
Signature: Bugged

Sphinx Pupa

Dear Bugged,
Many moths pupate underground and the pupae look quite similar, but those with a “handle” to contain the proboscis are the Sphinx Pupae exactly as you indicated.  As a point of correction, a chrysalis is the pupa of a butterfly and the pupa of a moth is not referred to as a chrysalis.  We don’t know what a hoophouse is, but if it has anything to do with a vegetable garden, we suspect this is one of the two species of Sphinx Moths in the genus
Manduca that feed upon tomatoes.  You can try keeping the pupa in a small goldfish bowl with several inches of damp, not dry or wet, potting soil.  You can also use dirt from the garden, but that might introduce other creatures to the habitat.  Cover the opening with cheesecloth to allow for ventilation.  Good luck “hatching” your pupa.  We are post dating this posting to go live during our holiday away from the office later in the week.

Fantastic! I stand corrected about the chrysalis thing… A hoophouse is, in our case, a tubular metal framework (think quonset hut in shape), covered with plastic sheeting and is used to extend the growing season of fruits and vegetables or to grow high value or sensitive crops during the normal growing season. We did grow tomatoes in the hoop last year. In the catepillar stage, are they very similar in appearance to the tomato hornworm or are they the same creature?

The Tomato Hornworm is the caterpillar of the Five Spotted Hawkmoth, Manduca quinquemaculata.

3 thoughts on “Sphinx Moth Pupa”

  1. I found a pupa (tomato) today while gardening – it was in last years tomato container. Has a small hole at the end – not the end with the loop. Could it still be alive? The hole seems too small for it to get through.


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