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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #60 on: August 13, 2010, 11:44:57 PM »
Norma,

That sucker that has been eating your tomatos is the Tomato Horn Worm, and those things on its back are not tomato seeds, they are the cocoons spun by the larvae of the Braconid Wasp.

The adult wasp laid the eggs inside the Horn Worm where they hatched and grow as larvae eating the worm from the inside until they emerge through the skin and spun these little cocoons. It is really a marvel of nature, the DNA of the wasp actually contains portions that are the templates for the components of viral particles, which when assembled into viruses by the wasp, suppress the immune system in the worm and allow the parasitoid to grow inside the host undetected.

As difficult as it may be, you shouldn't kill the worms with cocoons as the wasps they are nurturing are an important biological control agent. By killing the infected worm, you also kill the wasp larvae thus reducing the predator population and increasing the worm population. You can put the worm in a jar with fresh leaves for it to eat until the wasps hatch then let them loose in your garden. By the time you see the cocoons, the worm is dead - he just doesn't know it yet...

Craig
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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2010, 08:37:56 AM »
Norma,

That sucker that has been eating your tomatos is the Tomato Horn Worm, and those things on its back are not tomato seeds, they are the cocoons spun by the larvae of the Braconid Wasp.

The adult wasp laid the eggs inside the Horn Worm where they hatched and grow as larvae eating the worm from the inside until they emerge through the skin and spun these little cocoons. It is really a marvel of nature, the DNA of the wasp actually contains portions that are the templates for the components of viral particles, which when assembled into viruses by the wasp, suppress the immune system in the worm and allow the parasitoid to grow inside the host undetected.

As difficult as it may be, you shouldn't kill the worms with cocoons as the wasps they are nurturing are an important biological control agent. By killing the infected worm, you also kill the wasp larvae thus reducing the predator population and increasing the worm population. You can put the worm in a jar with fresh leaves for it to eat until the wasps hatch then let them loose in your garden. By the time you see the cocoons, the worm is dead - he just doesn't know it yet...

Craig

Craig,

After I killed that Tomato Horn Worm, I went on the computer to find out what it was, because I never saw anything like that before around our area.  I also saw just what you have posted and I know now, I should not have killed  :o the Horn Worm.  I also saw when I was looking about them that what you had said was right, about the wasp larvae being what those little white things were.  I also saw on the web, that if you take a black light out when it is dark, the green worms will glow, if you look for them with a black light. Me being the kind of person that always likes to investigate what is going on, just had to dig out a black light in my shed about 11:00 pm last evening.  I took a table light, put the black light bulb in, got an extension cord and went Tomato Horn Worm hunting around the same tomato plant that had that Horn Worm on.  I didn't find anymore, but saw a few little things that did glow.  I am now wondering if they too will turn into Tomato Horn Worms.  I will keep an eye on that tomato plant. I also read that if you put the Horn Worm in a jar with holes in the Horn Worm will then turn back into the kind of moth that laid the larvae.  Because the Horn Worm was already infested with wasp larvae, it wouldn't have survived the transformation. 

I appreciate you telling all about the Tomato Horn Worm.  I am always looking at nature and what happens.

Thanks,

Norma
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Offline cranky

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #62 on: August 14, 2010, 10:17:19 AM »
Sounds like a horror movie.  The insect world is full of amazement.  Do these wasps have any other way of reproducing without the tomato worm?

In the spring I had many lady bugs in my garden, but haven't seen any for awhile and aphids are appearing.  Any idea why they disappeared? 

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #63 on: August 14, 2010, 10:48:30 AM »
Sounds like a horror movie.  The insect world is full of amazement.  Do these wasps have any other way of reproducing without the tomato worm?

In the spring I had many lady bugs in my garden, but haven't seen any for awhile and aphids are appearing.  Any idea why they disappeared? 


cranky,

When I read about those Tomato Horn Worms, that was something I didnít know before.

If you read this article you will see that wasps are parasites or parasitoids as larvae, and feed only on nectar as adults.  Many wasps are predatory, using other insects (often paralyzed) as food for their larvae.  A few social wasps are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of fallen fruit. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasp

The insect world is fascinating and in another thread I had posted about the cicadas in our area.  They are also a fascinating insect.  The sounds of the cicadas in our area can become almost deafening at times, because they become so loud, you can hardly hear what someone is saying to you when you are outside. 

I have no idea why the ladybugs disappeared in your area.

Norma
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #64 on: August 14, 2010, 12:15:33 PM »
Sounds like a horror movie.  The insect world is full of amazement.  Do these wasps have any other way of reproducing without the tomato worm?

In the spring I had many lady bugs in my garden, but haven't seen any for awhile and aphids are appearing.  Any idea why they disappeared? 

Cranky,
It is entirely possible that Braconidae are responsible for the disappearance of your ladybugs and aphids, but it is unlikely that it is the same wasps that got Norma's caterpillar as there is a high level of parasitoid-host specificity. Braconidae are parasitoids of many types of insects - especially upon the larval stages of Coleoptera (would include ladybugs (Coccinella septempunctata) - a type of beetle), Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies to include the Five-Spotted Hawkmoth a.k.a the tomato horn worm in its larval stage a.k.a. Manduca quinquemaculata), and Diptera (flies), and some hemimetabolous (no pupal stage) insects like aphids.

To me the most wonderful thing is the evolution of the Braconidae - that their DNA contains the patterns needed for them to assemble an virus that suppresses the immune system of the host insect and prevents it from killing the larva that is eating it from the inside. How does that happen without Divine intervention?

Craig
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Online norma427

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #65 on: August 14, 2010, 12:59:44 PM »
Craig,

Since you know so much about the insect world, including all the technical names, I just went out back in my yard and took some pictures of what I think are butterflies.  We have many here and you almost needs to brush them out of the way, when walking.  I know most of these are butterflies, but are the darker ones any type of moth like what laid the lavae or are they also butterflies?  I know we have many moths in our area also, and you can see many at night time if you leave a light on outdoors.

I also really donít understand the insect world, but marvel of what happens.

Norma
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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #66 on: August 14, 2010, 01:01:00 PM »
more pictures

Norma
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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #67 on: August 14, 2010, 01:02:13 PM »
end of pictures

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #68 on: August 14, 2010, 02:07:21 PM »
I canít tell the difference between a hawk moth and a humming bird Hawk-moth.  I just went outside again to look for moths.  I did see this insect and although it looks like a hummingbird, maybe this is what laid the larvae for the Tomato Horn Worm.  Does anyone know if this is a Hawk Moth?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphingidae

Pictures below-if anyone is interested in seeing this insect, you might need to enlarge the picture or magnify them.

Norma
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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #69 on: August 14, 2010, 02:08:16 PM »
rest of pictures

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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #70 on: August 14, 2010, 02:57:15 PM »
Norma,

The ones I can identify from the pictures are, in order of the pictures posted below:

1) Cabbage White - Pieris rapae
2) Common Buckeye - Junonia coenia (with some wing dmage from the look of it)
3) Grey Hairstreak - Strymon melinus
4) Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta
5) Dreamy Duskywing - Erynnis icelus - I think. I can't be positive from the picture, but I'm pretty sure it is a Duskywing.

I can't make out the markings in the other pictures.

Hope this helps.

Craig
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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #71 on: August 14, 2010, 03:44:16 PM »
Norma,

The ones I can identify from the pictures are, in order of the pictures posted below:

1) Cabbage White - Pieris rapae
2) Common Buckeye - Junonia coenia (with some wing dmage from the look of it)
3) Grey Hairstreak - Strymon melinus
4) Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta
5) Dreamy Duskywing - Erynnis icelus - I think. I can't be positive from the picture, but I'm pretty sure it is a Duskywing.

I can't make out the markings in the other pictures.

Hope this helps.

Craig

Craig,

Thanks for naming the butterflies.  I posted pictures of what I think might be a Hawk Hummingbird Moth, but don't know what happened to those pictures.  I thought maybe if you thought the pictures looked like a Hawk Hummingbird Moth, maybe that is what laid larvae on my tomato plant that then turned into the Tomato Horn Worm.  I will have to see what happened to that post.

Thanks for you help,

Norma
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Offline cranky

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #72 on: August 14, 2010, 03:50:40 PM »
To me the most wonderful thing is the evolution of the Braconidae - that their DNA contains the patterns needed for them to assemble an virus that suppresses the immune system of the host insect and prevents it from killing the larva that is eating it from the inside. How does that happen without Divine intervention?
Craig

You must be an entomolgist.  The Latin gave you away.  
Regarding the theological question, I guess you have confronted what is known as mystery.  I don't know a lot about evolution.  What I was taught is that it happens so slowly that it is unobservable.  But nowadays people seem to be claiming to see evolutionary changes happening in species.  

The complexity of the things we see in the physical universe we try to explain.  We want to know how everything works and came into being and why and where it is all going.  I think our finite intellects have limitations.  There are things we don't and can't know.   I can't know all the answers about existance, but am happy to learn and wonder about what we see, kind of like a kid in a playground or garden.  It is all fascinating, but incomprehensible at some point.  Even understanding what happens in a pizza oven to tomato, cheese and dough is challenging.  Comprehending something like evolution and divine intervention is an interesting pastime, but we will never get it all.  Wonderment is good.

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #73 on: August 14, 2010, 06:50:44 PM »
Somehow, I think I posted these pictures and post before the butterflies.  I don't remember how I did that but sorry for any confusion.  I did take the pictures of the butterflies before the insect that I still don't know what it is.  :-[

« Last Edit: August 14, 2010, 07:00:00 PM by norma427 »
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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #74 on: August 14, 2010, 06:53:41 PM »
Another sorry, I didn't see that Craig posted pictures that I had posted with their names under them and this is how I messed up these posts.  Craig was being a big help and I though I lost my posts.  :-D

Norma
« Last Edit: August 14, 2010, 07:04:06 PM by norma427 »
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Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #75 on: August 15, 2010, 06:45:50 PM »
Norma,

I think what you have there is the Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird moth, Hemaris diffinis (a.k.a Bumble moth for obvious reasons though it a more common name for them in Europe while "Hummingbird moth" is more common in the US). It would be highly unliekly that it is a Hummingbird Hawkmoth as Macroglossum stellatarum is all but unknown in North America. Its primarary range is in Eruope, Africa, and the Middle-East (EAME). If I'm right that it is H. diffinis, I don't think it was the guy eating yout tomatos. H. diffinis larvae have a very distinct row of black spots running down their side and a distinct black posterior horn. Neither of which I see in your pictures. They are also not known to eat tomatos as far as I'm aware.

I still think the guy eating your tomato is a tomato hornworm which would have become the Five-Spotted Hawkmoth, Manduca quinquemaculata.

Craig

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #76 on: August 15, 2010, 07:06:12 PM »
Craig,

Thanks for telling me what kind of Hummingbird moth this was.  I donít know one kind from another.  I didnít think the Snowberry Clearwing Hummimgbird moth was eating my tomato plant, but wondered about this kind of moth. I can't believe there are so many kinds of moths.  I donít know that much about the insect world, but I sure like to observe what is going on outside.  I havenít seen anymore Tomato Hornworms, but will be on the look-out for them.

I appreciate you took the time to find out what this insect was.  :)

Norma
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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #77 on: August 15, 2010, 07:28:59 PM »
You must be an entomolgist.  The Latin gave you away.

No Ė but not that far off Ė sort of Ė  I studied a lot of biology in college but ended up getting a degree in something else. After college, I worked in restaurants, as a food broker, and for a couple large food manufacturers. Today, I head up M&A and strategic initiatives for a geophysical services company Ė go figure. I still love animals, plants, and bugs though (except the ones with 8 legs Ė I canít stand anything with 8 legs).

Quote
Regarding the theological question, I guess you have confronted what is known as mystery.  I don't know a lot about evolution.  What I was taught is that it happens so slowly that it is unobservable.  But nowadays people seem to be claiming to see evolutionary changes happening in species.

I donít claim to know much about evolution either, but I do think evolution can happen very fast Ė maybe even fast enough to see, and some is slow even in the context of geologic time.

This particular adaptation may have happened (relatively) suddenly, a long time ago. Current research suggests that a viral infection 100-million-years ago altered the Braconid host DNA providing the basis for the virus-like templates. Polydnaviruses of Braconid Wasps Derive from an Ancestral Nudivirus, Bťzier et al., Science 13 February 2009: 926-930.

Quote
The complexity of the things we see in the physical universe we try to explain.  We want to know how everything works and came into being and why and where it is all going.  I think our finite intellects have limitations.  There are things we don't and can't know.   I can't know all the answers about existence, but am happy to learn and wonder about what we see, kind of like a kid in a playground or garden.  It is all fascinating, but incomprehensible at some point.  Even understanding what happens in a pizza oven to tomato, cheese and dough is challenging.  Comprehending something like evolution and divine intervention is an interesting pastime, but we will never get it all.  Wonderment is good.

You are absolutely right, we are finite, and we are limited. As for comprehending evolution and divine intervention, I donít think we are supposed to get it Ė at least not today. But I have faith, and that's enough.

Craig
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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #78 on: August 18, 2010, 07:41:20 AM »
In our area there is so much to see this time of year, with all the insects, creatures and natural perennials.  If you just go outside the country is full of nature and plants to explore.  This was an article published in our local newspaper about the beauty of our area this time of year. 

http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/276486

BTW, on a side note, we do have many wild creatures that live in my area.  My daughter puts cat food out on our deck for the stray cats to eat.  On Monday night I was going to go outside to my back shed to get something.  When I opened the back door, I first smelled a skunk that had just freshly spray and was thinking, should I go out there, because last year there was a rabid skunk that was in my neighborhood. Much to my surprise there was a big possum sitting on the back deck eating the dry cat food.  The possum are scavengers and eat almost anything. They are also nocturnal. The possum kept looking at me, like just come outside. They look like big rats. Until I got my camera, he was gone.  You never know what is going to be outside where I live, whether it be plants, insects, or wild animals. 

Norma
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Offline cranky

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Re: Best Places people on this forum have found to buy Seeds or Perennials?
« Reply #79 on: August 18, 2010, 11:26:59 PM »


You are absolutely right, we are finite, and we are limited. As for comprehending evolution and divine intervention, I donít think we are supposed to get it Ė at least not today. But I have faith, and that's enough.

Craig


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