Weekly Photo Challenge: Green–and relentless eating machines!

This little green eating machine, if not mistaken, is a tobacco hornworm, and it is relentless…

The Tobacco Hornworm

The worm is a bit blurry but you can see the seven diagonal lines on its side and the slightly curved red horn at the back…

With sticky little appendages, it takes a good yank to free them from their business…
Almost in rhythmic pattern, they chomp at a steady pace; if left unchecked, will eat a tomato plant in no time flat!

The Tobacco Hornworm

Although green as a worm, the tobacco hornworm later transforms into the drab brown Carolina sphinx moth that feeds on flower nectar.

Carolina Sphinx Manduca sexta

Carolina Sphinx Manduca sexta –Photo credit: Wikipedia

Now, here is a charming trivia that demonstrates, I believe, a parasitic symbiosis:

Cotesia, a parasitic wasp, actually lays its eggs straight into the bodies of the green tobacco hornworm!

As the wasp larvae grow safely inside the worm, it also feeds internally and eventually emerges from the worm’s green body. Oh yuck!

If you happen to see a green tobacco hornworm covered with many white, cottony egg looking thingies, well, that, my friend, is the wasp larvae in cocoon form!

English: Tobacco hornworm caterpillar Manduca ...

English: Tobacco hornworm infested with wasp larvae –Photo credit: Wikipedia

Well, enough on tobacco hornworms…here is a green dragonfly found dead on the path…poor thing…hey, does that look like an eye on its head looking straight at us?

the green dragonfly

Finally, the rather large grasshopper attempting to hide among the green shrubbery…gotcha!

The Hiding Locust

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23 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Green–and relentless eating machines!

  1. ansuyo says:

    I was afraid to open this post, lol. I have heard a lot about tobacco worms, but never seen one. Thanks for the education. Wasp-now that I wish I hadn’t learned-eeeeewww!

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    • Sunshine says:

      You have to admit, Ansuyo, how clever the wasp is to plant their eggs into the worm…who would think those white things on their backs were foreign invaders!!! Haha… 🙂
      Thanks!

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  2. eof737 says:

    You dug deep on this one Sunshine… All that buggy stuff made me squirm but I get their value to the whole… Even the worms have beautiful patterns on their body. TY! 😉

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    • Sunshine says:

      The worms are okay to look at but really nasty to touch because they are so huge and have that icky soft feel to them…plus, they fight to stay on their stem! Thank goodness our rooster likes to dine on them. 🙂
      Thank you!

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  3. rommel says:

    Yikes! It’s a little “creepy”, nonetheless beautiful and very interesting. Thanks for the share. You learn something everyday ….from the blogosphere.
    And uhm, does anybody else notice the awesome improved images you got!?

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    • Sunshine says:

      Rommel, you really do not want to know how yucky it is to pluck these fat green blobs from the plants…and now you made me *blush* as I look down and say, “Aww, shucks! Thanks!” 😉

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  4. Arindam says:

    I am going to echo what IT said that is, you took us to our childhood days with these pictures. Beautiful images and great interpretation of this week’s theme Sunshine. 🙂

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    • Sunshine says:

      It is awful to think about…just as bad as the fly maggots you find in rotting garbage…UGH!!!!!
      The only thing nice about this worm is its bright green color…haha! 🙂
      Glad you visited…TY!!

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