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  • Five-Spotted Hawk Moth - (Manduca quinquemaculatus)

    Five-Spotted Hawk Moth - (Manduca quinquemaculatus)

    The Five-Spotted Hawk Moth is a large, strong flier that has a reputation for laying waste fields and gardens trying to grow popular vegetables.


    Staff Writer (8/18/2017): When wings are flat and the abdomen is revealed, two vivid blue eyespots are visible on the thorax of the Five-Spotted Hawk Moth. The five yellow-orange spots that dot the abdomen on each side (10 spots total) are large enough to count easily. Sometimes, however, a sixth spot is present which can confuse those trying to identify them. This large moth is a strong flier and drinks nectar from flowers like petunias, honeysuckle and phlox. The adults fly at sundown and are seemingly harmless. Their larva are another story.

    The caterpillars (larvae) of the Five-Spotted Hawk Moth is a nuisance to agriculture. It is called the Tomato Hornworm. Don't be fooled by the name; this caterpillar eats more than tomato leaves. The green fleshy body almost fluoresces and has a single black needle-like spine (also called a horn) at its rear. Eight V-shaped marks lined both sides of the body. This is different from the caterpillar of the Tobacco Hornworm Moth which has 7 angled slashes on its body. The Five-Spotted Hawk Moth caterpillar is well camouflaged among the bright green leaves of tomato plants. They have voracious appetites and eat the leaves of tomatoes, potatoes, tobacco and other plants in the Solanaceae family. Removing a large percentage of the plants foliage in just a day or two allows the Tomato Hornworm to plump up rapidly. It also weakens plant production and health. They pupate and overwinter, emerging in the spring as winged adults. Removing the caterpillars by hand or with insecticides and preventing adults from laying eggs on the host plant by using row covers can help limit harvest loss.

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    Details of the:
    Five-Spotted Hawk Moth


    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Five-Spotted Hawk Moth
    Scientific Name: Manduca quinquemaculatus
    Other Names: Tomato Hornworm

    Taxonomy:
      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Lepidoptera
          Family: Sphingidae
           Genus: Manduca
            Species: quinquemaculatus





    Size (Adult, Length): 50mm to 70mm (1.97in to 2.76in)

    Identifying Colors: brown, white, orange, black, yellow, blue

    Additional Descriptors: flying, spot, harmful, pest


    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Nebraska;New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; British Columbia; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Mexico


    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.





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