The 2.5" long "thing" shown below was found under decayed straw around a potato plant in the garden. This is a hornworm pupa, the intermediate, transformation stage of a tomato or tobacco hornworm on its way to becoming a moth. The hornworm caterpillars drop from infested tomato (or potato) plants, burrow into the litter or the soil and spend the winter as pupae. The moths emerge in the spring. No control is necessary. The caterpillars have already fed on the leaves and no further damage will occur this season. See our ISU Insect Information Note for more information.