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However, if you are hatching tobacco hornworm eggs in your classroom, Carolina recommends hatching them in an 8-oz cup containing artificial diet (item #143908 or item #143905).
The reason for this is that once hornworms eat plants, they will rarely switch to artificial food sources.
Both have complete metamorphosis, progressing from egg to larva to pupa to adult.
At 27° C (81° F) it will take about 30 days for a hornworm to mature from an egg into an adult.
They are easily confused with tomato hornworms, which look identical, except that they have V-shaped lines on their sides.
Handle the pupae with care, as they are easily damaged.
The strange appearance of this stage fascinates students.
Many are surprised to learn that although the pupae seem rigid and inactive, the abdomens move.
See the Hornworm Care Sheet for more detailed instructions on hatching tobacco hornworm eggs.
Once hatched, the larvae will eat and grow over the next 2 to 3 weeks, and as they do, they will progress through 5 instars, or stages.
In the wild, larvae burrow into the soil to pupate because they require total darkness.