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Beetlebee

Manduca sexta

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Hello!! I have a bunch of caterpillars of these moths, not for reptile feeding but just to raise. I bought a cherry tomato plant and they don't seem to like it, but I thought they were known for eating tomatoes? Maybe only certain tomato plants?

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Manduca sexta will eat all kinds of solanaceous plant material, but once they've eaten one that they prefer, they might not accept others. Are they wandering off the plant or are they just not feeding on it? If they are wandering off the plant and are late fifth instars, they may be looking for a place to pupate. If they aren't fifth instars and aren't wandering off the plant and are just not eating, they may be preparing to molt into another instar.

 

The lab I work in keeps Manduca sexta and they're kept on an artificial diet that they'll accept as long as they're not provided with actual solanaceous leaves beforehand.
I've reared them on tobacco, tomato, Datura, Solanum laciniatum, Solanum nigrum, and Solanum rantonnetii.

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Ahh, alright. I did buy the big ones so that I didn't have to wait for all their instars. I've raised a few before but only on artificial diets. These guys were eating artifical diet at the pet shop so maybe they don't want the tomatoes. They don't seem to be eating that anymore either, where can I move them so they can pupate and not get covered in sticky food? Lol they're burrowing into the food now and getting all slimy

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They get slimy because they cover themselves in saliva and excess fluids. A container of coco fiber, piles of newspaper, or paper towel would work for allowing them to burrow and pupate into. In the lab, we place them into wooden blocks with holes drilled into them and cap them so they feel secure. The blocks are dark to mimic underground pupal chambers and also work well because they absorb excess moisture.

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Aaah okay that helps, I had a lot die for some reason this time. Usually I have one or two but I lost way more this time :/ not sure what happened but I'll try again!

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