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 of cockroaches.
At 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!