Hornworm Moths Deformed

Trace K

New Member
Backstory:
I have a leopard gecko who doesn't like hornworms and a website where I bought some bowls and stuff accidentally sent me 22 hornworms (tobacco). I didn't have the heart to let them go or die. So, I kept them. The moths ended up breeding and I've been raising these guys for fun and it's super interesting.

One moth hatched from his pupa with a tongue that splits about 2/3 from the end. I know their tongues make up two, connected tubes. But, because of this deformity, one of the halves will get wrapped around its leg and such. I've tried to get both ends to sit on the sugar water, but I have no idea if he's drinking. He also barely has any wings and a gigantic body. It's even still a little green on the sides of the body. About an hour ago, another one just hatched from it's pupa and its wings are the same, but the tongue looks normal.

I've searched and searched online and cannot find anything regarding a split tongue. I feel bad for these two poor little, gigantic guys.

Has anyone else had or heard of this issue and know what can cause it so I can prevent it from happening again?

On a side note:
I did A LOT of research and since they bury themselves, they need to be kept in the dark. But, if it's cold, they'll think it's winter and take a lot longer to "hatch". So, I have them in a shoebox with small holes, a couple folded screens for when they emerge, and I keep them near heat so they stay warm and emerge like it's spring or summer. I only just started this and it's working. Before, I let them burrow with my tomato plant and the little flies that came with the plant seem to have larvae that destroy the moths via their underground pupae. This is why I moved them to the shoebox.

Thanks, in advance, for your help!
 

Paydon18

New Member
usually this come from a lack of humidity during the transformation always have to be crazy wet. Use coco fibre and dust daily
usually this come from a lack of humidity during the transformation always have to be crazy wet. Use coco fibre and dust daily
So I see what you've said on here and it makes a lot of sense. I believe that is what my issue is. But I've been keeping them pretty misted while in and out of chrysalis. I've even had a moth the developed without a head it came out and was flapping around with literally no
Head. But before I keep investing money I just want to know what I'm doing wrong. Thank you.
 

Paydon18

New Member
And after they bury and let a week go by and I dig them up. And let them moist with being in light most of the day or darkness. Because I've heard two different things I've been giving them light but have been having to many issues. Out of about 37 worms maybe 5 or 6 didn't have deformities or die. Thank you.
 

Paydon18

New Member
Don't know if this will help...

This one talks about deformed wings...
http://feederinsectbreeding.blogspot.com/p/hornworm-care-and-breeding.html
I appreciate it! So do I keep them wet until they hatch from chrysalis ( like ally he way through transformation process" or just until it transforms into chrysalis? Thank you! I'm sorry just tired of spending so much money and time just to have issues. I have learned how to care for get moths and also to get them to Lay eggs that do have some deformities. Which has been a plus. But would like them to be just normal.
 

Spyro

Avid Member
And after they bury and let a week go by and I dig them up. And let them moist with being in light most of the day or darkness. Because I've heard two different things I've been giving them light but have been having to many issues. Out of about 37 worms maybe 5 or 6 didn't have deformities or die. Thank you.
We have good success just letting them pupate on slightly damp paper towels. Not enough to squeeze water from, though.
Don’t they intentionally breed them to have built in deformities so they don’t become invasive?
No.
 
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