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Discussion Starter #1
Found this rather freakish looking caterpillar in the garden on one of our few tomato plants. What in the world are the white larvae looking things all over this monster. between the rotten on the vine tomatoes, the deer that jumped the fence into the garden and ate the tops of all the plants in June, the excessive rain, etc. It's been a poor year for the garden!

 

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Looks like it has eggs attatched to it.On the subject of TOMATOES I just finished canning 30 quarts of salsa for this winter.My tomatoes went crazy.I have picked in excess of 100 pounds so far.Canned 45 pounds today.
 

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tomato horn worm with Braconid wasp parasites.
 

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It would be a greasy spot if I found it. Man, that is gross lookin'!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the input. I am even more grossed out by the tomatoes in the garden now though! I guess I'll just stick with Giant Eagle for most of my produce this year!
 

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nah, its nature. Just remove the worm and the wasps and continue with the garden. Its really not that bad.

I'm raising some monarchs right now. I collected them as 1st through 3rd instar larve, and sometimes they are parasitized. Can't tell till they hatch- and the choice is a butterfly or a maggot.

I have never reared one of the maggots to see what it is, nor have I looked it up, but either way its cool!

I often will give the crystalis away, and warn the person at the end that a symbiotic parasitic relationship may have happened if I didn't rear the monarch from the egg.

Without the monarch, the wasp or other insect would not have survived. With the parasite, the monarch will not survive.

While unpleasant when we think about it, in reality it allows for the survival of a species.

There are other types of symbiotic relationships too. With commensalism, one species is obligate to the other, but the other has no adverse affect. Freshwater mussels are an example. They attach themselves to the gills of the host fish when they are in their larval stage. Without the fish, the species parishes.

All very interesting to me!!
 

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GalThatFishes said:
nah, its nature. Just remove the worm and the wasps and continue with the garden. Its really not that bad.

I'm raising some monarchs right now. I collected them as 1st through 3rd instar larve, and sometimes they are parasitized. Can't tell till they hatch- and the choice is a butterfly or a maggot.

I have never reared one of the maggots to see what it is, nor have I looked it up, but either way its cool!

I often will give the crystalis away, and warn the person at the end that a symbiotic parasitic relationship may have happened if I didn't rear the monarch from the egg.

Without the monarch, the wasp or other insect would not have survived. With the parasite, the monarch will not survive.

While unpleasant when we think about it, in reality it allows for the survival of a species.

There are other types of symbiotic relationships too. With commensalism, one species is obligate to the other, but the other has no adverse affect. Freshwater mussels are an example. They attach themselves to the gills of the host fish when they are in their larval stage. Without the fish, the species parishes.

All very interesting to me!!
I just started this past sunday gathering monarch caterpillars to raise...I been doing this for the past 5 years.....should see the looks I get when asked what I'm doing pulling leaves and stalks of milkweed plants!



As for the comment about being grossed out...WHY? Those mater worms do not make the tomatoes non-ediable.....they just are a pain on the plants and munch on the leaves of the plant......anyone who is grossed out about a mater worm, do you happen to smoke? those mater worms are pretty much the same worm that gets on the Tobbaco plants!
 

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GalThatFishes said:
nah, its nature. Just remove the worm and the wasps and continue with the garden. Its really not that bad.

I'm raising some monarchs right now. I collected them as 1st through 3rd instar larve, and sometimes they are parasitized. Can't tell till they hatch- and the choice is a butterfly or a maggot.

I have never reared one of the maggots to see what it is, nor have I looked it up, but either way its cool!

I often will give the crystalis away, and warn the person at the end that a symbiotic parasitic relationship may have happened if I didn't rear the monarch from the egg.

Without the monarch, the wasp or other insect would not have survived. With the parasite, the monarch will not survive.

While unpleasant when we think about it, in reality it allows for the survival of a species.

There are other types of symbiotic relationships too. With commensalism, one species is obligate to the other, but the other has no adverse affect. Freshwater mussels are an example. They attach themselves to the gills of the host fish when they are in their larval stage. Without the fish, the species parishes.

All very interesting to me!!
How bout some pics, Gal?


(Reading about the parasitic relationships, I almost posted a political post, but this is Wild Edibles. Well ...)
 

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Seems I have dead battery syndrome.

Cell battery lasts 10 minutes now and camera battery is dead.

I'll try to look through my 20K pictures on here and see if I can find some though.
 

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Those horn worms will devastate your tomato plants! I get them every year and those buggers can eat! It will be no problem to have a caterpillar eat 90% of the foliage off a tomato in two days if left alone. I think I must have pulled at least a dozen or more off of my plants last year.
 

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couldnt find em. Maybe someone else hat rears monarchs can post some?
 

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I hope you left that guy alone so those brachonids could mature and hatch. At that point the caterpillar really can't feed or do any damage anymore, but is about to release into the world a few dozen more wasps to do the same to more hornworms!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah - thanks mountainhiippie - I just researched and discovered that. I didn't kill the thing, just threw it on the scrap/composte pile near the garden, so maybe the wasps will survive.
 

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Actually, let me take this opportunity to put in a plug for a book written by the chair of my department. Dr. Doug Tallamy is advocating use of native plants in ornamental gardening and the suppression of exotic plants in order to promote biodiversity, including wildlife, in and around the places we live. He actually discusses this specific phenomenon with parasitic wasps and hornworms on page 85 of "Bringing Nature Home," which can be previewed on Google books here.
 
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