Where do butterflies lay their eggs?

Do you know where do butterflies lay their eggs? Butterflies and moths as well for that matter are very particular about laying their eggs. Most butterflies leave them on only one sort of plant because this is the plant that the newly hatched larvae, called caterpillars, will feed on.

Where do butterflies lay their eggs

So the female butterfly will spend some time finding the correct plant (the food plant) before laying her eggs.

You might think that for an insect this would be particular place on the food plant for the eggs and will leave them in no other. For example, one species of brimstone butterfly will only lay eggs on the topmost shoots of the buckthorn bush. You would never find them if you searched lower down the plant.

Where do butterflies lay their eggs
Where do butterflies lay their eggs: The Small tortoiseshell Butterfly lays its eggs on the underside of nettle leaves. When the larvae hatch they will find themselves a convenient food supply.
Where do butterflies lay their eggs
The attractive sculptured effect of a butterfly’s egg as seen if viewed under a low-powered microscope. The hole in the center is the micropyle.

What is the hole in the butterfly’s egg for?

The hole in the butterfly’s egg is called the micropyle. It is through this hole that the egg was fertilized in the female’s body before it was laid. Once laid, it admits air to the developing larva inside, allowing it to breathe.

Where do butterflies lay their eggs
A newly hatched caterpillar eating the egg shell in has just left.

Some species of butterfly lay their eggs singly, others in small batches all over the food plant, while yet others perhaps lay one large batch. All the eggs are varied in shape, size, and color, and viewed under a low-powered microscope, are beautiful to look at.

They are so varied that it is usually possible to say from which group of butterflies a particular egg is from, if not the actual species.

Why does the caterpillar eat its eggshell?

Some butterflies’ eggs are transparent it is interesting to watch the development from the time the egg is laid to the time the larva hatches. The egg at first looks as if it is full of liquid but gradually the larva grows to fill it.

Where do butterflies lay their eggs
Further examples of butterflies’ eggs magnified many times. Some butterflies lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves.

As this happens the egg often changes color several times. The eggs of some species hatch in a few days but with others, it may be between two and three weeks before the larvae emerge. Their first meal is generally the empty essential food substance that the caterpillar must have in order to survive.

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