Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wherein I have killed the hornworm with kindness

Yesterday morning, our hornworm was slumped onto the bottom of the jar. Just resting from a night of vigorous munching? The food provided by his waitstaff did not seem to be eaten. Perhaps he'd like something fresher?

Snippers in hand, I plucked some tender new tomato bits for him. (Just how far was a I willing to go in the name of science?) Maybe he was thirsty? So I rinsed them off, shook them, and put them in the jar with him. He seemed to revive.

A few hours later, the interior bottom of the jar was slimy. Not a good sign. The hornworm was in similar condition. So I gingerly dumped him out on a paper towel, patted him drier, cleaned his jar, only put in the tastiest of leaves and left him to it.

He was too far gone to enjoy the freshness of his environment.

I consulted my son to see how hornworm #1 was doing, only to fine that it too had died. Not that either of them was going to have a long future, but still, I wanted to see this out to the end. No doubt, in the wild, they would have continued the destruction of my tomato plant before spinning themselves into a new occupation, that of egg-layers.

Perhaps they just don't do well in captivity.

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