I’ve done some sleuthing on the internets to determine (initially) what species these little buggers are. After a bit of searching through some visual representations and pictures of larvae, I have identified these buggers as tobacco hornworms (Manduca sexta), which are remarkably similar to tomato hornworms. They both look nearly identical except for the color of their horn – red for the tobacco worm, and brown for the tomato worm. Hey, shouldn’t it be reversed?
It turns out the tobacco hornworm has the straight white line edged in black, whereas the tomato hornworm has V-shaped lines running down it’s body instead. Otherwise, the only significant difference is the color of the horn. Now, if I had not caught these little buggers and they had been allowed to reach maturity and enter their chrysalis then molt, they would have emerged as moths known as Carolina Sphinx moths. To my eye, they are unremarkable with their drab colorings of greys and browns. I was oh so hoping to have a couple of pretty little butterflies I could have brought to adulthood, but alas, it was not meant to be.
You can see more pics in the gallery, but this is a closeup of the larger beastie that I plucked from my garden: