tomato horn worms?

GBov

Songster
10 Years
Apr 3, 2009
617
8
154
Giving my quail a nice big juicy grub is great fun for the kids - not so much for the grub - because they play a kind of tag/football/rugby with the poor thing. Now, last year I got tomato horn worms in my tomatoes so THIS year it would be nice to give them to an appreciative audience instead of sending them to show and tell and then popping them into the freezer.

The only problem is, tomato plants are poisonous so can I feed a caterpillar that has been eating poisonous stuff to my quail?

You lot are sooooooo going to get tired of my endless questions
 

VelvetDragon

Chirping
9 Years
May 25, 2010
149
1
91
Portland Metro Area, OR
No, do not feed wild hornworms to your animals. They are indeed poisonous from eating things like nightshade, tomatoes, and other plants from that family!

You can, however, feed captive-raised hornworms. Several feeder insect farms grow them along with mealworms, crickets, and other bugs. They are not fed nightshade family plants on these farms, and tend to be a different color than wild hornworms because of their diet.

My sis takes care of hornworms and sphinx moths in a lab. They use them for neurology research! I get to help once in a while. They eat something that looks like caterpillar tofu. Hehe. I have some poor-quality cell phone photos:


They're kind of a bright blue instead of green, since they eat food with so little pigment in it. I actually think they're super cute. Hehehe.


Their eggs are still bright green though!


Here's the diet they feed the caterpillars in little cups for the hatchlings to eat.
 
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GBov

Songster
10 Years
Apr 3, 2009
617
8
154
What a great way to start the day, learning something new!

You confirmed my suspicion about them. I had no idea they were so versatile in what they will eat but this year mum got them on her pepper plant.

Thanks for saving some quail from death by hornworm lol

P.S. I think they are cute too
 

Wifezilla

Positively Ducky
11 Years
Oct 2, 2008
11,199
137
311
Colorado
I know tomato leaves are poisonous but since I had goofy teenager ducks that ate 3 tomato plants down to the ground last year and did not die (or even get sick), Idon't think the toxicity level is nearly what people think it is.

"The leaves, stems, and green unripe fruit of the tomato plant contain small amounts of the poisonous alkaloid tomatine[38]. Tomato leaves in the form of a tea have been linked to at least one death[39], but the levels of tomatine are generally too small to be dangerous[38][40], so foods such as fried green tomatoes are safe to eat. Ripe tomatoes do not contain any detectable tomatine[38]."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato
 

GBov

Songster
10 Years
Apr 3, 2009
617
8
154
Quote:If I had a goofy teenager duck eat three of my tomato plants down to the ground it wouldnt be the tomato plants that killed him!!!
 

Wifezilla

Positively Ducky
11 Years
Oct 2, 2008
11,199
137
311
Colorado
LOL

The thought of a roasted duck dinner did come to mind. But the whole flock was involved and I didn't want to have to order more ducks! Now our plants are fenced. I learned my lesson



2 of my former teenaged garden raiders all grown up. They do NOT like that netting! Look at them eyeballing my cucumbers....
 

VelvetDragon

Chirping
9 Years
May 25, 2010
149
1
91
Portland Metro Area, OR
Hornworms actually concentrate the toxins in their bodies as a way of deterring predators, so even if tomatoes themselves don't cause death, the hornworms can.

Also, hornworms will eat a lot of different plants, not just tomatoes -- including deadly nightshade, tobacco, potatoes, and so on. So you don't know what they've been eating even if you find them on a tomato.

And I'm sure some animals are more susceptible to the toxin than others, and factoring in things like body mass and so on. Just like some dogs can seem to eat copious amounts of chocolate and be fine, and others go into shock after just a little bit. Some individuals and species are probably more susceptible to tomato toxins than others.

Mmm, I love green tomatoes. Sounds like your ducks did too!


Edited for spelling. Ooops.
 
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GBov

Songster
10 Years
Apr 3, 2009
617
8
154
I mostly wondered about tomato horn worms because they are so very well camouflaged! Most caterpillars that are poisonous are brightly colored. Like the oleander caterpillars all over the yard. BRIGHT black and orange.

Anyway, found a half grown one on my toms so took a chance and threw it in. Poor thing didnt die easily in that scrum but no one quail got more than a mouthful! At one point the one with it bolted out the door - I was freshening up the water - to get away from the rest so ran right under the feet of one of the cats


Death by caterpillar was the least of its worries!
 

huntercf

Songster
9 Years
May 17, 2010
251
2
111
Quote:If I had a goofy teenager duck eat three of my tomato plants down to the ground it wouldnt be the tomato plants that killed him!!!

Now that is a funny post! LOL
 

huntercf

Songster
9 Years
May 17, 2010
251
2
111
Wifezilla, I just have to say those are nice looking ducks, I can see why you didn't have them over for .....'dinner'. What kind are they?, their coloring looks similar to my manchurian quail.
 

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