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EENY-031: Tobacco Hornworm, Manduca sexta (Linnaeus), and Tomato Hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata (Haworth), (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Sphingidae)

Figure 13. Even though it is still capable of movement, this hornworm larva, is already "dead." The white capsules on its back, frequently mistaken for "hornworm eggs" by many gardeners, are actually Hymenopterous wasp pupae of the Braconidae family. These wasps fed on the hornworm while in the larval stage and are now pupating into adults. When home gardeners find hornworms in this stage, they should let them be as they aren't capable of more damage. And when they emerge, the adult wasps will hunt for other hornworms to parasitize.

Credit: University of Florida