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Tobacco Hornworm/Carolina Sphinx Moth Larvae

Manduca sexta


Large (up to 80mm) green caterpillar with seven diagonal white lines running down sides. Lines distinguish from the similar "Tomato Hornworm" which has eight v-shaped markings instead. "Horn" is an antenna-like body extension located at the tail-end of the caterpillar.


Caterpillars frequent solanaceous (nightshade family) plants, including: tobacco, tomato, potato, and eggplant. The caterpillars will eat voraciously, fully de-leafing plants.


These caterpillars are considered garden pests, but they are actually quite important for entomologists and biologists as insect models. "Studies on M. sexta over the past 40+ years have included many areas of insect biology, including neurobiology, endocrine regulation, chemical sensing (chemoreception, sexual and feeding attractants), behavior, development, metamorphosis, immunology, antimicrobial defenses, locomotion and flight, digestive and gut physiology, toxicology, parasitism, microbial interactions, pathology, and plant-insect interactions. As such, M. sexta represents a powerful, well developed, and tractable experimental system." (Source: Workspace@NAL, USDA link provided)

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TonyHdz 7 years ago

Muy buena foto de la Oruga, aunque en verdad les tengo algo de fobia y repudio... me solo hasta hace poco me atreví a a tocar una....

Diaz José Miguel
Diaz José Miguel 7 years ago

Great macros!

CharliePrice 7 years ago

Fantastic photo's !

catgrin 7 years ago

Thanks Sigg :) I didn't explain before, but I included the close up to show the caterpillar's simple eyes (Ocelli). You can see three of the six in that picture.

SG in CR
SG in CR 7 years ago

Nice images, especially the close-up.

catgrin 7 years ago

Thanks, Jae!

Jae 7 years ago

Amazing shots, catgrin.

Spotted by

Long Beach, California, USA

Spotted on Nov 2, 2014
Submitted on Nov 2, 2014

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