The Tomato Or Tabacco Worm Study And Observation





Observe the worms where they are at work on tomatoes. Disturb them and hear them grind their jaws together. Do they eat the foliage rapidly? Dust a little Paris green on the foliage where a worm is eating and see what happens in half an hour. Collect a number of the worms in a glass fruit can and give them tomato leaves to eat and watch them grow. How many segments are there to the body? How many of the segments have small black spots on either side? These are holes through which the worm breathes. Is the horn at the end of the body stiff enough to stick into your hand? This is thought to be a sting but it is only an ornament and is entirely harmless. When full grown they will burrow into the sand in the jar and change to the pupa.





Full-fed tomato worm slightly reduced.


Chrysalis or pupa of tomato worm. Note the jug-handle-like sheaths enclosing the proboscis.




Examine the brown pupa carefully and see if it can move. What is the peculiar structure on the under side of the body? The moth which comes from this in the spring is very large. It is covered with white and black scales and hairs which give it a mottled appearance. Examine on the under side of the head for a peculiar structure like a watch spring. This is the sucking tube used in drawing up nectar from deep tubular blossoms. When the moths are sipping nectar from "jimson weed" blossoms they can be killed by pouring a little poison down into the blossoms.



Tomato worm moth natural size.











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