Manduca sexta research

How Bath’s Manduca sexta colony helps us understand human disease

About us

Moths and caterpillars of the Tobacco Hornworm (Manduca sexta) have been used for decades to study immunity, microbial pathogenicity, neurotoxicity, and flight mechanics.

Bath’s inbreeding colony, which has been established in the late 70s, is an invaluable research tool for researchers at Bath and elsewhere for studies into microbial pathogenesis, insect immunity, and the role of nutrition in virulence. In doing so, we aim to further establish M. sexta as a versatile, easy-to-use model system.

This blog provides information about on-going Manduca research at Bath, including protocols, techniques and recipes as well as a collection of scientific publications.

If you would like to contact us about the colony, and how to acquire animals for research and demonstrations of insect life cycles, please email us at

The caterpillars share their adventures via Twitter @Manduca_sexta