Dying/Dead Parasitized Tobacco Hornworm

Dying/Dead Parasitized Tobacco Hornworm

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Credit: KENNETH H. THOMAS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Dying/ Dead Tobacco Hornworm (Manduca sexta) with Parasitic Braconid Wasp (Cotesia congregata) cocoons attached. Hornworm live in Open areas, particularly those under cultivation. Eastern half of the United States and southeastern Canada.The hornworm caterpillars feed on foliage of plants in the nightshade family, such as tomato and tobacco, although they are called tomato worms or hornworms, they also attack the foliage of potatoes, eggplants, green peppers, and various weeds. Persistent rumors that caterpillars can sting with their horns are totally false. The larvae of the species is the damaging stage leaving dark green or black droppings. Braconid Wasp live throughout North America and in open areas on plants where hornworm caterpillars feed. Braconid wasp eggs are laid on the host's skin. Larvae burrow inside host (the hornworm) which at first continues to develop almost normally but eventually the caterpillar dies. Braconid larvae stop feeding and cut holes in the host's skin in order to reach the outside. They pupate inside white cocoons spun on the host's skin. Caterpillar often dies before adult wasps emerge from cocoons. Braconid wasps are regarded as beneficial because they reduce the numbers of plant-eating insects. Summer. Orange, MA. USA. Wild.

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