Do Tomato Worms Turn Into Butterflies?

The tomato worm, also known as a hornworm, is commonly found on tomato plants. The worms are known to devour fruit and veg. Despite their destructive nature, they do not harm other plants, making them safe to release into your garden once they have finished eating your tomatoes.

Once they are fully grown, you can release them into your yard or onto another tomato plant to complete their metamorphosis and become adult Moths called Sphinx Moths.

What Are Tomato Worms?

Tomato worms are not actually worms. They’re a kind of caterpillars, and they’re related to monarch butterflies. The tomato worm is one of those pesky garden pests whose appearance can seriously ruin your tomato-planting day. Tomato worms feed on both ripe and unripe tomatoes, as well as most other varieties of plants in your garden.

Despite their reputation for causing devastation in gardens, adult tomato worms are relatively harmless to humans (although some people have been known to develop a mild skin rash from touching them).

Sphinx Moths

While both Moths and butterflies fly and have long antennae, they are completely different creatures. Sphinx moths tend to live a solitary life, rarely interacting with others of their kind or even other insects. Their wingspan is also about three times larger than that of a butterfly.

The caterpillars you see in your garden are quite large and voracious eaters when compared to those belonging to butterflies; in fact, they eat so much that many species can cause serious damage to plants and crops if left unchecked by farmers. Also, unlike their butterfly counterparts, tomato worms don’t live off nectar but feed on plants like tomato leaves and stems instead.

Life Cycle Similarities of tomato worms and butterflies

There is not much of a similarity between a tomato worm and a butterfly, but there are enough that it can be noticed. Both have similar life cycles, and they both go through to reach adulthood is very similar. It starts out with an egg.

A tomato worm starts off as an egg underground which will turn into a small caterpillar that moves around until it reaches maturity, where it will become cocooned in soil and hatch into a moth.

These worms can sometimes be found feeding on tomatoes or other plants in your garden, even though they have no mouthparts for chewing; instead, they secrete digestive juices onto their food so that when they come back up to eat, the nutrients have already been broken down for them.

How long does it take for a Tomato Worms to turn into a moth?

A hornworm(tomato worm) takes about two weeks to turn into a moth in a best-case scenario. It can take up to thirty days for metamorphosis to occur in some cases. When a tomato worm begins to spin its cocoon, that means it’s about halfway through its metamorphosis process and on track to become an adult butterfly in just over a week or so.

Caterpillars tend to hide in order to pupate, but in general, they are difficult to spot in the act of morphing. Hornworms usually do so in a single moment, making it tough to see their entire cocoon.


No, tomato worms do not turn into butterflies. While it may go through metamorphosis, it turns into a moth and not a butterfly. Tomato worm is the common name for various caterpillars with a voracious appetite for tomato plants. Once these caterpillars are full-grown, they transform into moths and begin laying eggs on tomato plants.

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