All the larval stages of tobacco hornworm cause serious damage to many plant species including tobacco, tomato, peppers and eggplants. After hatching from eggs, small larvae begin feeding on the leaves until they mature. In case of heavy infestation, tobacco hornworm larvae can competely defoliate plants.
Adults: Adults of the tobacco hornworm are grayish brown in color with a thick black band on each hindwing. Adults also have six longitudinally arranged orange spots on the both dorsal sides of the abdomen.
Eggs: Eggs of tobacco hornworm are round and creamy white in color.
Larvae: Larvae of tobacco hornworm are green in color with black margins on their diagonal white stripes located on the sides. Mature larvae are about 3- 4 inches long with green head capsule. Larva is called as hornworm because it has red horn at posterior region of the body.
Pupae: Pupae of tobacco hornworm are reddish brown in color with a maxillary loop.
Mated females of tobacco hornworm lay eggs singly on both the upper and lower surface of leaves. Eggs hatch within 4- 5 days into small larvae that start feeding leaves. While feeding, larvae pass through 5- 6 developmental stages within 20 days. Mature larvae then fall on the ground and burrow and pupate in the soil. Adult moths then emerge from pupae, lay eggs and life cycle continues. Under favourable conditions, these hornworms can complete egg to adult life cycle in 30- 50 days and 2 generations in a year.