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Manduca sexta (Linnaeus)

Tobacco sphinx



  • This insect is a Lepidoptera (butterfly) of the Sphingidae family.
  • Main host species: chilli, pepper, eggplant and tomato.
  • Widely distributed on the American continent (South and North), in the West Indies and also present in Papua New Guinea.
  • Observed in the open field as well as under shelters.  

Sensitive botanical family (s)



Affected production areas :

Guadeloupe Martinique Guyana


Organs attacked

Leaves Flowers Fruits Rod

Symptoms, damage

  • Primarily attacks tomato plants.
  • Presence of splits, holes on leaves, stems, flowers, buds and fruits.
  • Up to 90% of the leaves can be eaten by this insect 


  • Development cycle : probably completed in 30 days in tropical latitudes.
    • Eggs mainly laid on the underside of Solanaceae leaves; they are 1.5mm in diameter. 5 days are needed for the larvae to hatch.
    • Larva of rather large size reaching up to 5 cm. She has 5 pairs of prolegs and a "horn" at the end of her abdomen. Five larval stages follow one another in 20 days.
    • Pupation takes place in the soil 10 to 15 cm deep. The chrysalis of brown - red color measures approximately 5 cm.
    • The adults are large butterflies of 10 cm wingspan.


  • Observe the plants carefully for the presence of larvae .
  • Frequently pick and destroy larvae that are easy to spot.
  • Work the soil in order to destroy the buried pupae.
Last change : 11/16/21
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