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What is the tomato monster??!!

I was just out watering, and found this monstrosity on one of my tomato leaves. I just snipped the entire leaf off. This is a big green caterpillar (literally as big as my index finger!!!) that somebody has layed eggs all over. Any ideas as to what kind of caterpillar it is, or who layed the eggs? I hope that a good field mark for the caterpillar is the red horn, just visible on the right side of the photo. I know nothing about caterpillars, and don't know if that's the front or the back. If you can ID either of them, can you tell me what kind of damage I can expect on my plants?

SleestaksRule's picture


Your monster is a Tomato Hornworm, the larva of a Sphinx Moth. From the size of it, it is ready to pupate but I don't think it will survive that long regardless of what you do. The little white things all over it are the young of a parasitic wasp that lays its eggs in the body of the growing caterpillar on which they feed. The little white things are their cacoons. I would say let nature's pest control do the job for you. The caterpillar has already done all the damage to your vines that he is going to. Consider it his last meal. ;-)


I have never had the problem in Northern Illinois up to Central Wisconsin.

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