Butterfly eggs vary in color and shape, but you won’t see any variation without magnification. Most common butterfly species that you could raise easily indoors have a light or yellow color. This makes them easier to spot against a green leaf. In this article, we will explore this topic in more detail to help you identify and collect butterfly eggs. If you’re interested in raising butterflies, it’s useful to learn how to find butterfly eggs. This is a tricky proposition; butterfly eggs are as small as a pinhead or even smaller.
Where To Find Butterfly Eggs?
Knowing where to find butterfly eggs is easier if you know which host plants, they like to lay their eggs on. As you might imagine, these are the same plants that the caterpillars eat. Every butterfly species restricts its egg laying to a few select plants which will supply the nutrition that their caterpillar eats. As an example: The Monarch butterfly lays eggs on plants in the milkweed family. To find the butterfly eggs that you want, it’s a good idea to research the plants they use and watch out for butterflies flying near those plants.
With these preparations, you will find eggs and if you’re patient you may see the adult laying. When the butterfly lays eggs it curls its abdomen down towards the leaf in a deliberate manner. Some butterfly species lay their eggs on the underside of the leaf and others on top. As an example: Monarch butterflies lay their eggs singularly on the underside of milkweed leaves. Some butterflies lay their eggs in clusters along a stem or leaf and others lay a single egg.
What Do Butterfly Eggs Look Like?
Butterfly eggs may have a light off-white or yellowish color when they are laid and then they darken or turn entirely black before the caterpillar emerges. Let’s look at five common butterfly species and where you can find them:
1. The Orange-Tip
These eggs are a greenish white color when they are laid and then they turn a bright orange color in a few days. Eggs are laid under the stalk or calyx of a garlic mustard or cuckoo flower plant in the wild. In gardens they are found on honesty or dame’s violet. They hatch in 1-2 weeks and they are found at the end of April until late June.
2. Large White
The eggs are yellow, and they are laid in batches of up to 100 eggs on the underside of brassicas, wil mignotte and nasturtiums. Hatching time is 1-2 weeks, and they can be found in early May through to mid-September.
3. The Speckled Wood
These are spherical eggs; they are light green, and they are laid as single eggs or occasionally in pairs. Laid on the underside of leaves and grasses such as cock’s-foot, Yorkshire fog, false brome and other warm and sheltered locations. They are found from mid-April up to the end of August.
Several eggs are usually laid in proximity which could be the same or different females laying in a popular location. These eggs are pale green when laid, they then turn yellow and eventually turn gray as the larvae develop. The hatching time is 1-2 weeks, and they can be found in early May up to the end of June.
5. Small Copper
These eggs look like little white golf balls when laid and then they turn gray. They are laid under the sheep sorrel and sometimes dock leaves. The hatching period is 1-2 weeks, and they can be found from early May up to the end of August.
How Many Eggs Does a Butterfly Lay?
During their short lifespan, a butterfly can lay a few eggs or hundreds and many don’t make it. There are predators that feed on caterpillars and each life cycle stage is fraught with danger. If a butterfly lays a few hundred eggs, it’s likely that only a few will become butterflies. This is one of the attractions of raising butterflies, you can give them a better chance at survival and boost the butterfly population.
How to Find Butterfly Eggs FAQ’s
Do butterflies lay eggs in soil?
There are certain butterfly species that will lay their eggs in soil or dirt. This is rare, but if you observe a butterfly on the ground for longer than a few minutes, it may be laying eggs. This is a dangerous start for an egg and caterpillar, but the female butterfly can lay more eggs at once and this can be a viable survival strategy.
Do butterflies lay eggs in grass?
Although you may be searching for Monarch butterfly eggs on milkweed leaves, it’s worth mentioning that grass is an overlooked source for many butterfly eggs. Many people are unaware that grasses support a wide variety of caterpillars and butterflies. They may be less interesting than other plants that butterflies frequent, but they add a lot of interest to a dedicated butterfly garden. Grasses can soften harder areas of the garden and they provide plenty of nutrition for hungry caterpillars.
What color are butterfly eggs?
As you can see in the information we presented earlier, the shape and color of butterfly eggs can vary depending on the species. But, there are some common characteristics, most eggs are a pale yellow or green color when first laid and they all darken as hatching approaches.
How long does it take for an egg to become a butterfly?
Again, this can vary depending on the butterfly species, the season of the year and the temperature. Most butterfly eggs tend to hatch around 3-8 days after they are laid. As the hatching approaches, the color of the eggs will be darker.
How to Find Butterfly Eggs-In Conclusion
We hope that this article has shown you how to find butterfly eggs in your yard or out in nature. Every butterfly species has a unique egg laying strategy to improve the survival chances of their eggs and the caterpillars they will contain. Certain species will lay a single egg on the top of each leaf and others will lay them underneath to protect against rainfall. There are rare times when you may see a butterfly lay an egg directly on dirt or soil or even on fruit or in flowers. If you need more information, look at butterfly egg disposition research to narrow your search for specific butterfly species.