Tobacco Hornworm

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: South-eastern CT
July 30, 2016 2:41 pm
I found this green guy on a tomato plant. Should I be concerned about whether he will damage the plant? It’s the end of a hot sunny July.
Signature: Emily

Tobacco Hornworm
Tobacco Hornworm

Dear Emily,
Though they are frequently found eating the leaves of tomato plants (and other plants in the family including pepper and eggplant), the caterpillar of the Carolina Sphinx,
Manduca sexta, is commonly called a Tobacco Hornworm.  They will eat leaves and numerous Tobacco Hornworms may defoliate a small tomato plant.  They will also eat green tomatoes.  Many gardeners remove them.  We do not.  We suspect if you did not remove it, it is long gone, having dug beneath the surface of the ground to pupate.  We frequently received requests to identify the pupae of the Carolina Sphinx when gardeners discover them while turning the soil the following season.  The adult Carolina Sphinx is an impressive moth. 

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