You probably thought I killed it after taking pictures last week. That’s what any sensible tomato grower would have done.
None of the pictures came out well because it never stopped moving its mouth parts. It was late afternoon, and where I was shooting, it was not very bright. I didn’t want to turn on the lights, which might have made it twitch. Not only did it move more than I thought it would, it produced an enormous amount of droppings. No doubt because of its nonstop eating. Didn’t the plant-eating dinosaurs do this?
So I put it under a plastic dome, actually the lid of a spindle of CD-Rs. Left it with plenty of fresh tomato leaves, courtesy of a lush patch of cherry tomatoes. Plus the half-eaten green tomato.
The next day, I didn’t want to face the subject, which seemed quite active, moving around its pen on top of an outdoor table. I could see it out of the corner of my eye as I worked. The leaves were wilted.
I still wasn’t up to it the following day, or the next. But I kept feeding it. It kept crawling around the perimeter, kind of like a fat green train.
Before I knew it, almost a week had passed. Normally tomato worms don’t bother me, although they must be one of the most repulsive-looking creatures, especially when you find them on your healthiest tomato plant. But my previous episode with the pistachios left me a little more squeamish than usual. Perhaps there is a little pistachio left in my system still.
A family member remarked that the worm looked less than happy. Perhaps, I suggested, it was preparing for its next stage of development. He couldn’t find a suitable container for it (although he didn’t look very hard).
I am very relieved. Sometime I will discuss the writhing mass of larvae in the compost heap, but not today.