02 July 2007


I had heard people complaining of the "worms eatin' my tomatoes" at the garden shop, but I've remained blissfully unaware. Until, that is, I saw the plucked stumps of our tomato branches reaching their amputee limbs into the sky. And then I found this plump, juicy tomato hornworm hiding amongst the voracious garden growth.

Can you find it??

It held its head up and sphinx-like, legs pulled tight against its body. For this behavior, these moths earned one of their many nicknames - sphinx moths. Caterpillars of the sphinx moths turn into what I believe to be some of our most fascinating lepidoptera, the Sphingids, also known as hawkmoths and hummingbird moths for their ability to hover in front of flowers like a hummingbird. You can read more about them in a previous blog entry I made here.

Anyway, I couldn't bring myself to remove or squash the thing and now I can't find it again. Their camouflage works. To be honest, I couldn't kill it because it was a first for me in any of my gardens. I felt a sort of reverence for the creature. Plus, it was fat and probably ready to pupate. I wonder if there are more...

No comments: