Hooray for (some) Parasites

Went out to harvest an armload of tomatoes today and found this Hornworm on one of the plants. I took the branch off along with the critter and took it to the back porch where Susan photographed it. It was about 2 to 3 inches long and had all those strange looking white things all over it. Once I figured out it was a Tomato Hornworm – notice the red horn-shaped appendage on the right end – I was glad I had removed it. I then found out that the white things are small cocoons of a parasitic wasp munched on the insides of the caterpillar and they will soon be emerging as wasps where they will go out and start the reproduction and munching cycle over again on more caterpillars – yumm and yea! I am beginning to appreciate certain parasitic relationships that do not directly involve me as the victim.

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2 Responses to “Hooray for (some) Parasites”

  1. Rebecca Clayton Says:

    Great photo! When they make the cocoons, they are done dining. They’ll emerge as little wasps, and go hunt more caterpillars. The hornworm may not be quite dead, but he won’t be moving fast or eating tomato leaves ever again.

  2. Lisa Says:

    If the horn worm isnt dead, why can’t he eat more tomato leaves?

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