Mr Tomato Head and Swallowtail caterpillar

Hi,
One of my Rutger Tomatoes grew a schnoz this year:
http://www.iserv.net/~lfisk/tomato_head.jpeg
and I had a few Black Swallowtail caterpillars munching on the carrot tops.
http://www.iserv.net/~lfisk/swallowtail.jpeg
Hope you find these interesting ;)
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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On Friday, September 25, 2015 at 6:12:04 AM UTC-7, Leon Fisk wrote:

Thanks for these.
The caterpillar one is a real work of art. There's more to Nature than our personal species interests!
HB
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On Fri, 25 Sep 2015 19:23:35 -0700 (PDT)

Your welcome. I was happy to feed a few caterpillars soon to be butterflies with my carrots. There just doesn't seem to be that many around nowadays. Thought it was one of the little rabbits that were getting through my fence at first...
Interestingly enough I didn't see/find a single Tomato worm this year. That has never happened before in all the years we've had a garden and tomatoes. Not even a hint of activity either. Sometimes I don't find them even though I'm know they've been munching on my plants...
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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Leon Fisk wrote: ...

we had one tomato worm on the plants this year, but i never found it. last year we didn't have any at all. other years we've had plenty.
songbird
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On Sat, 26 Sep 2015 11:21:44 -0400

It has been a strange year weather wise for sure. Of course that maybe just a coincidence. I never find/kill all of the tomato worms so it isn't like I've eradicated them. And I have neighbors who don't know enough to find and pick them off...
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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Leon Fisk wrote: ...

supposedly there are some bugs which use them as hosts and so i try to check them for that before cutting them in half. haven't seen any signs of the bugs yet in the years we've had tomatoes.
they can be hard to find, but it does help to get out early enough in the morning to check for them when they are still up on the ends of things and eating. looking for fresh droppings below the plants can also help narrow down the search.
songbird
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On Sat, 26 Sep 2015 18:28:32 -0400

Yes, parasitic wasps (Braconid wasp). If I recall correctly the wasp lays eggs inside the worm. Larva lives inside the worm for a time and then bores out creating an egg like pupa. This in turn hatches into another parasitic wasp. See:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-04_braconid_wasp_on_hornworm.htm
You can't really tell until the final stage. I've seen this but only a few times over the past ~50 years. And like you I leave those worms alone. Otherwise it's like the Red Queen screams, "Off with the head!" or something like that :)

I agree, good advice/technique. They feed on pepper plants too, which are closely related to tomatoes. I've found some real whoppers because I don't tend to check those often enough... Not this year though. Not even a hint of activity on either.
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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