Perhaps two of the most striking moth caterpillars to be seen by the average Nevadan are those of the tomato and tobacco Sphinx moths, Manduca quinquemaculataand Manduca sexta, respectively. These distinctive caterpillars, often called hornworms as larvae, are best known as the ravenous pests of plants in the family Solanaceae, especially tomatoes, potatoes and tobacco. In most small-scale applications, the common caterpillars can be kept below economic thresholds by simply monitoring and hand removal. The moth, which is in the family Sphingidae (Sphinx moths), also contains many other beautiful caterpillars and adults that are not pests.


K. Burls and J. Newton 2019, Know Nevada Insects: Sphinx Moth, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS 19-16

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Also of Interest:

A Northern Nevada Homeowner's Guide to Identifying and Managing: Tobacco and Tomato Hornworms
Tobacco and tomato hornworms are one of the hungriest garden pest out there! Have you noticed your tomato plant rapidly losing leaves but don't see any culprits, most likely a tobacco or tomato hornworm are to blame.
Andrews, M., Hanson Mazet, W., and Kratsch, H. 2023, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-23-33
Sphinx Moth
Know Nevada Insects: Sphinx Moth
This publication reviews the biology of caterpillars commonly called hornworms, including the tomato hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata, which can be a common pest of tomato plants in Nevada. Integrated pest management techniques for controlling caterpillars are also discussed.
K. Burls and J. Newton 2019, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno

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