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Tobacco Hornworm
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Tobacco Hornworm

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Sphingidae

Pest Status: Tobacco hornworms have a caterpillar stage that can be very damaging to certain plants.

Appearance: Hornworms are large, robust moths that have long, narrow front wings. Their bodies are spindle-shaped, pointed at both ends. They have gray and white mottled wings and abdomens lined along each side with six conspicuous orange-yellow spots.

Life Cycle: Females lay their eggs singly on leaves. The eggs hatch and the larvae feed for three or four weeks and then burrow into the soil to pupate. The pupae overwinter and the adults emerge in the spring. There are two generations per year.

Where to Collect: Hornworms can be reared from pupae or caterpillars. Otherwise, they can be collected at lights or when found taking nectar from flowers.