5 Things You Didn’t Know About Hornworms
Why Hornworms Are Unique Reptile Feeder Insects
When it comes to feeder insects, hornworms can get a bad rap. You might not want to see a plump hornworm happily chomping on your tomato plants but reptile owners know that hornworms can be a lifesaver for their fussy eater. How much do you really know about these unique insects? We’re sharing five things you didn’t know about hornworms.
1. Hornworms get their bright green color from what they eat.
The Springfield Plateau breaks down how hornworms get their distinctive color: Invertebrates like hornworms transport oxygen through their blood with hemocyanin, a chemical that is copper based and can appear blue. When blue hemocyanin combines with a yellow pigment called xanthophyll—which occurs as plants that hornworms eat break down—you get that vibrant green color. Fun fact: Blue hornworms do not occur naturally. If you see blue hornworms for sale, they have been commercially bred with a diet that produces their blue coloring.
2. Those horns will not cause any damage.
Obviously, hornworms get their name from the horns on their last abdominal segment. These horns are not stingers; they are actually very soft. Why do they have these horns? No one knows for certain, but they do make for a threatening visual to predators.
3. Hornworms love nightshades.
Tomato and tobacco hornworms—the ones you usually see in your home garden—feed on plants in the nightshade family. They will chew leaves and holes in tomatoes and can wreak havoc on a small garden, but they are not a major problem for larger farming operations.
4. Some hornworms will later be mistaken for hummingbirds.
Hornworms are members of the sphinx, or hawk, moth family. Sphinx moths have sharp wings and a similar hovering pattern to hummingbirds. Because they fly at night and during the day, they can often be mistaken for hummingbirds.
5. Hornworms are known to be a “magic trick” for feeding reptiles.
If your bearded dragon is dehydrated or coming out of brumation, consider feeding your pet some hornworms. With an extremely high water content, hornworms are a great source of water, as well as protein and fat, for reptiles.
Would your pet reptile enjoy some vibrant and nutritious hornworms? ABDragons offers live hornworms in a variety of sizes and shipping frequencies to meet your needs. Your hornworms will arrive in a habitat that fully sustains their needs while shipping.