Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Mystery of the Unexpected Eggs

Hey... what's that?
(click to enlarge)
It's Spring in Archie's Garden! All sorts of things are happening: trees are leafing out and flowers are budding and blooming.

After taking some pictures of purple freesias, something caught our eye. What's that little white speck on the nasturtium leaf?

Zooming in on the picture, we were surprised to see something that looked a whole lot like the Monarch butterfly eggs that we see on the milkweed plants. This speck was smaller than a Monarch egg (maybe two-thirds the size).

But if it was an egg, the big mystery is what it was doing on a nasturtium. Monarchs don't lay their eggs on just any plant. They only lay eggs on milkweed, and nasturtiums are not related to milkweed.

We went out to take a closer look at that speck. Here's what we saw:
Mystery Egg I (click to enlarge)
Mystery Egg II (click to enlarge)

There were a couple of these eggs around, and all on nasturtium leaves. They couldn't be Monarch butterflies ... but, they sure looked like butterfly eggs! For comparison, here's a picture of a Monarch egg:
Monarch egg (click to enlarge)

When we looked it up on the Internet, we learned that there's a species of butterfly that likes to lay eggs on nasturtiums - and it's a species we frequently see in Archie's Garden:  Cabbage White Butterflies (Pieris rapae):

Cabbage White Butterfly (click to enlarge)

So the mystery was solved!