The above pictures show some tiny insect eggs, each egg being only about 1 mm across (0.04 inch).
The eggs at the top, left were are on the bark of a pine tree in Mississippi, and are
obviously attached to one another in long chains. Most of the eggs have hatched, leaving
round black holes where the larvae emerged. The eggs were produced by one of many species
of Leaf-Footed Bugs, genus Leptoglossus. The eggs at the top, right are
like little white plastic cups all grouped together, this time on the scales of a pine
cone, also in Mississippi, and I don't know what produced them.
At the right you see
eggs of the Squash Bug, Anasa tristis, on the lower surface of a
squash-plant leaf. The white marks on most of the eggs are actually holes in the eggs from
which Squash Bug nymphs have emerged. In fact, one great thing about this picture is that
at the center, left in the picture you can see two discarded exoskeletons of Squash Bug
nymphs. The eggs hatched, the nymphs hung around a while growing, and as they grew they
discarded their old exoskeletons.
Some insect eggs are just so pretty that you just wonder why. At the right
you see the barrel-shaped eggs of the Harlequin Bug, Murgantia histrionica, which
had been laid on the underside of mustard leaf. Usually Harlequin Bug
eggs are laid in double rows, but you can see here that at least a couple of eggs are
"in the wrong place." That just shows that Mother Nature doesn't always do
exactly what the books say the do. Harlequin Bugs really hurt my garden. If I were more
serious about producing a lot of food, I'd look for these eggs and squish them with my
thumb. Though each egg is only about 1/16th of an inch wide (0.8 mm), the clusters are are
easy to spot and squishing with them with a thumb doesn't take any more effort or time,
and is much more nature-friendly than using chemicals. This is usually the case
in backyard gardens and it's a mystery why people keep using poisonous chemicals!
You might want to see our series of photos showing Mourning Cloak
Butterfly eggs and caterpillars emerging from them.
At the left is the much-enlarged egg case
of a cockroach. In real life the case is only about ½-inch long (13 mm). The case,
which holds 16 eggs, is hard and shiny like thin plastic. Each cockroach species has an
egg case of a different shape. When eggs inside the case hatch, the young emerge along the
rough edge at the top in the image, first just one or two, but before long a whole mass of
tiny, wriggling creatures, until finally the case is deserted. This case was found in late
winter and probably after a few warm spring days it will produce summer's first generation
the right you see the eggcase of a mantid -- a "Praying Mantis." It's about
1¼-inch long. Each of the many layers, which look like slender ribs in the picture, is
associated with an egg inside the case. When the mother mantid deposited the case on a
weed stem, at first the material comprising the case was soft and frothy, but soon it
became quite hard, able to protect the fragile eggs inside it against all but the hardest
knocks. Once spring comes and it's warm enough for the baby mantids to survive, they will
break from their case. Often they emerge at approximately same time and, if you're very
lucky, you'll find the vicinity of such egg cases just crawling with baby mantids.
Since mantids prey on many insects that are harmful to gardens, some companies sell mantid
cases similar to the one in the picture. Just hang the egg case someplace in the garden
and next summer your mantids will be working with you to keep your garden healthy! The egg
case at the right was photographed in California. Mantids from other parts of the world
produce cases looking slightly different.
The pictures on this page tell us two important things about insect eggs:
- Insect eggs are typically small and are found in obscure places
- When you do find them, they are often very interesting!