Currently viewing the category: "Eggs"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location: Perthshire Scotland
April 3, 2012 2:38 am
Was wondering is you could identify these pictures taken in an old established oak wood on stinging nettles. Pictues taken in July.
Many thanks.
Signature: D H Todd

Nursery Web Spider guarding her Nursery

Dear D H Todd,
The general shape of your spider and the web she has spun reminded us so much of the North American Nursery Web Spider,
Pisaurina mira that we had no trouble identifying your spider as a related Nursery Web Spider, Pisaurina mirabilis, on the UK Safariwebsite.  UK Safari lists the habitat as:  “Usually found low vegetation especially nettle beds.” 

Nursery Web Spider guards her web

Nursery Web Spiders are among the most maternal spiders and they exhibit very protective behavior regarding their eggs and the newly hatched spiderlings.  UK Safari describes the behavior as:  “After mating, the female Nursery web spider lays her eggs into a silk cocoon which she carries around in her fangs.  Just before the eggs hatch, she spins a silk tent (nursery web) and releases her spiderlings inside it.  This tent offers them some protection for the first few days of their life.  After their first moult they leave the tent.  The female stays close to the tent until all the spiderlings have dispersed.”

Nursery Web Spider with her web

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What lays these eggs on stalks?
Location: New Orleans, LA
April 1, 2012 5:34 pm
I find these clusters of eggs laid on stalks on the frame around my front door. I live in New Orleans (Westbank). These pictures taken 3/31/2012. I have never seen the egg-laying critter.
Signature: Carl

Lacewing Eggs

Hi Carl,
These are most likely Lacewing Eggs, though we would not rule out some other species of Neuropteran as a possibility.  Insects in the order Neuroptera often lay eggs on stalks.  The larvae of Lacewings are fierce predators known commonly as Aphid Wolves.  It is believed that they have adapted to laying eggs on stalks to help reduce the possibility that hatchling Aphid Wolves will devour one another upon hatching.  Green Lacewings are also called Goldeneyes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location:  Los Angeles, California
March 8, 2012
Dear WTB,
I’ve recently been sorting through some old photos and found these two images of a spider and egg sack that I took in my garden this past Fall.  My father told me that country people called them “writing spiders” and said that if you saw your name written in their webs you would die.  Both the spider and the egg sack were located in the same part of the garden and I assume the egg sack is from this spider.  Can you tell me the actual name of this spider and let me know if I should be excited to have more of them in my garden this spring?
Susan Lutz

Writing Spider

Dear Susan,
Your father is absolutely correct, at least as far as the name goes.  Writing Spider is a perfectly acceptable common name for this spider, as are Golden Orbweaver and Yellow Garden Spider, though if you really want to be technical, you would refer to this species as
Argiope aurantia to avoid any confusion.  The common name Writing Spider arises from the zigzag pattern spun into the web, a structure known as the stabilimentum.  We had never heard the lore regarding death being the outcome of seeing your name written in the web.  Tell Dr. Lutz we found that bit of trivia perfectly fascinating.  The Egg Sac is in fact that of a Writing Spider.  Here is a photo from our archives of a female Writing Spider and her Egg Sac.  Spiderlings will hatch in the spring and spin a silken thread to catch the wind in order to disperse, a behavior known as ballooning.  If you desire more information, you can always search BugGuide.

Egg Sac of a Writing Spider


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

insect egg case, tropical
Location: dominical, Costa Rica
February 17, 2012 3:57 pm
Dear Bugman,
My wife found this interesting object attached to a hammock outside a house at which we were staying in Costa Rica, Feb 11, 2012. The house is near Dominical, just a few Km up in the mountains.
I’m guessing it is some kind of insect egg case, but I have never seen something quite like this with the little spikes all over. The color was probably a bit whiter than the attached images as the sun was setting at the time. It was about 5 cm long.
Signature: Sincerely, Hudson Ansley

Costa Rican Thing

Dear Hudson,
We have no idea what this thing is.  It might be an insect case, or it might be a fungus, or possibly part of a plant.  We are posting your unidentified mystery in the hope that someone might be able to provide an identification in the future.

Update:  Possibly Ootheca of Lanternfly
March 3, 3012
We received a comment suggesting this might be the egg case of a Lanternfly or Peanut Headed Bug,
Fulgora lanternaria.  We did find one photo online on Bug Hatch Stock Photography, but we cannot link to the image directly. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Gall or what?
Location: Marana, AZ
January 30, 2012 4:12 pm
Mr. Bugman,
I have about 3 or 4 of these things in my tree out back. At first I thought they were some sort of chrysalis, but after having one break off and upon further examination, I have no idea what this thing is. After hours of research, I’m thinking this may be a gall of some sort, but I still have not a clue as to what caused it. Even if it is a gall, it still resembles a nest of some sort. However, it’s only about 1/2” long. So many questions, and absolutely no answers!
P.S. I like the zipper design along the front, which is part of why I’m so confused as to the classification of this object. Those are holes leading straight inwards. I’m afraid to dissect it, though, without knowing what it is.
Signature: Myssiing in Marana

Preying Mantis Ootheca

Dear Myssiing,
This is the ootheca or egg case of a Preying Mantis.  The female expels a soft, frothy substance at the time she lays eggs, and it hardens into the ootheca.  The Ootheca protects the eggs from the elements while the young develop.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

cocoon my daughter brought home
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota (found in winter)
February 10, 2012 8:50 am
My 8 year old daughter loves bugs, especially moths and butterflies. She recently brought this cocoon home and put it in a jar. After probably almost two months this bug came out. I have googled for hours and been unsuccessful in identifying the species, and since she wants to keep it I want to make sure we are feeding it correctly, so it would be great if you could tell me what it is.
After hatching it began laying eggs and spinning silk. It is very large and bulbous, especially in the bottom of the body. The wings do not seem to help it fly successfully. The wings aren’t flat the way most seem to be, they are formed a very odd way. And it has hair inbetween them. It’s probably 2” long, with a 2.5” wingspan. The body is probably 3/8” in diameter.
Signature: Thank you very much, from a lil bug lover’s mother

Deformed Polyphemus Moth

Dear lil bug lover’s mother,
Your story is one of the sweetest we have received in such a long time.  Don’t get us wrong, we love researching the names of insects, and exotic species are often very difficult for us, but we would much rather a philosophical question like yours.  Alas, we have bad news for the lil bug lover, though is is not really that sad and we hope you can use this as a learning experience for her.  This is a female Polyphemus Moth, a native North American species that can be found coast to coast if the habitat is conducive to its needs.  Your observation that the wings are unusual is correct, however, this is an abnormality that prevented this moth from being able to fly.  Normally the wings expand as the veins fill with body fluids.  If the moth is able to use its fluids properly, the wings harden and expand.  The moth takes its name from
the Cyclops Polyphemus  of the Odyssey by Homer, the ancient Greek chronicler.  One can only speculate why the wings did not expand.  Perhaps a genetic mutation.  Perhaps trauma endured during the collection process.  If the cocoon is held too tightly, it might damage the dormant pupa within.  Perhaps the confined conditions of the bottle where it emerged was not a habitat conducive to its needs.  Though this flightless female did not mate, she probably needed to download some eggs in her bloated state.  In the wild, she would have taken flight and released pheromones that the male could sense with his considerably larger and feathered antennae.  Others of her species would have emerged at the same time because conditions like temperature and humidity triggered metamorphosis.  She would fly and release pheromones   The male and female would actually engage in intercourse and he would fertilize the eggs in her womb.  She would then fly and lay eggs on the correct deciduous trees, of which there are many (see BugGuide).
Here is the really interesting part.  Adult Polyphemus Moths do not eat, so nothing is going to appeal to her.  The mouth parts, known as the proboscis, are absent, so she cannot consume nourishment like other adults or imago of her order, Lepidoptera.  Adult Giant Silkmoths in the family Saturniidae do not feed and they only live a few days, long enough to mate and lay eggs.  Many adult Giant Silkmoths are eaten by birds and other predators.  Evolution has caused many species to develop eye spots or ocelli that will scare a predator into thinking it is being attacked by a much larger creature with a huge face, perhaps even a human.

To Be Continued…….

UPDATE:  February 13, 2012
Hello again lil bug lover’s mother,

We wanted to try to provide you with a bit more information if your daughter continues to be interested in collecting cocoons so that she can observe the metamorphosis process.  The scientific term for the emergence of an organism from a dormant state, be it egg or pupa, is eclosion.  Caution your daughter to handle the cocoon very carefully.  The ideal habitat is one that is large enough to house the adult comfortably and will provide ample space for the wing expansion.  Jars are not ideal.  Cardboard boxes at least the size of a shoe box fitted with a screen cover are a much better solution.  You also want to avoid premature eclosion.  This Polyphemus Moth was not provided with an opportunity to find a mate, or to have a mate find her, because she emerged during the depths of winter in Minnesota.  If you have a protected and unheated porch or garage that is closer in temperature to the outdoors, but safe from elements and predators, that is ideal.  Then eclosion can occur when the conditions are suited for the rest of the species.  Once the moths emerge, they can safely expand their wings and be released.  Butterflies and moths do not make the best pets since they need to fly and most captive environments do not provide enough space.  Caterpillars can be raised quite successfully however.  On a positive note, if the failure for the wings to expand had been genetic and not a result of trauma, this moth would surely have perished much sooner in the wild, however, the truncated wings would not have prevented mating, and if a male Polyphemus had ecloded in the vicinity, they could have mated.  Good luck with future endeavors.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination