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!
 
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