Saturday, July 25, 2009

Butterfly Eggs Hatching

This small white butterfly Pieris rapae took about twenty minutes to lay its cluster of eggs on the underside of some broccoli leaves in our garden. Each egg as laid with slow painstaking precision, at the rate of roughly one every twenty seconds. After laying each egg the butterfly withdrew its abdomen back between its wings, then bent it downwards and deposited another. Butterfly eggs have beautifully sculptured chitinous shells and as hatching nears they become more transparent, so that you can see the larva wriggling inside. After hatching, the caterpillar’s first act is to each its own egg.


  1. A great set of informative photos there Phil.I am always fascinated by the patterns on such tiny objects as the egg casing.

  2. Very nice. I too like the egg shapes.

    By the way. I wanted to send you an e-mail but can't find your address. I would like you to take a look at the bottom of this blog about the hiccuping snail! Do you have any idea why they leave an intermittent trail?

    Thanks Phil.

  3. Hi John, somewhere I've got an old book about moths by L.Hugh Newman that has pictures of moth and butterfly eggs - each species with its own distinctive pattern...

  4. Thanks Ron, My e-mail is
    Interesting question about the snail slime spacing - might be something to do with the nature of the surface that it's on - if it's highly water repellent (oily?)that might lead to this kind of effect, maybe..


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