Do You Know How to Spot Butterfly Eggs?

No, this is not some sort of joke or craft idea for Easter. I’m simply not that clever. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at butterfly eggs. With all the fuss right now about planting milkweed for the monarchs, you should know what a butterfly egg looks like when you spot one on a plant.
Butterfly moms are pretty smart cookies. Butterfly larvae (caterpillars) have very selective diets, so the female butterfly lays her eggs on the plants that provide that diet. There is no need for a caterpillar to hunt for its food because mom has already taken care of that. These plants are referred to as butterfly host plants.
Once you have a good idea on which plants to look, you can put on your nature detective hat and head outside to go egg hunting. Butterfly eggs are very small…some smaller that others. Generally speaking, the larger the butterfly, the larger the egg. Conversely, the smaller the butterfly, the smaller the egg.
Eggs are layed in singles or clusters depending upon the butterfly species.
If you are a keen observer, you can catch a female butterfly laying her eggs. A female butterfly can be seen flitting about a host plant. Watch her carefully as she will land on the plant, touch her abdomen to the plant, deposit her egg, and then lift off again. This process will continue as long as she feels that she can safely deposit her eggs on the plant.
Butterfly eggs come in a variety of colors. Egg colors range from whites to reddish orange to yellows. Eggs often turn a dark color as they near hatching time.
The rewards of gardening for wildlife are many. Just know that you must share your plants and realize that munching will occur!
Interested in gardening for wildlife? Follow the blog to learn more!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  2 questions
  • Darlene McLemore Hammond Darlene McLemore Hammond on Feb 14, 2019

    How do I get started? I collect butterflies in figurines etc. l would love to learn to raise them!

  • Jay Jay on May 23, 2019

    We have researched and researched prior to starting. We originally planted a silky gold milkweed, coupled with a large assortment of nectar plants.

    within seven days the milkweed was covered with huge eating machine catipillars .They took the plants down to the ground. We very quickly replaced. With four additional, but taller and slender versions: my question were did the big catipillars go. Any suggestions. We live in Tampa, Florida



Join the conversation

2 of 4 comments
  • Nancy Lockhart Nancy Lockhart on May 31, 2018

    i am just now gathering information to start a big butterfly Garden next year , gonna wait till November to seed in my milkweed , got to work on good soil , also have bee balm and gonna get a lot more flowers that butterflies and hummingbirds love , thanks for showing me what butterfly eggs look like very important for success .

  • Jennie Jennie on Jul 02, 2018

    Thanks for the great information. I have a new milkweed plant so I will be watching.