Amazing insect egg story in National Geographic this month

A lot of my readers know that my research focuses on the giant water bugs. What I haven’t blogged about very much yet is this: my dissertation work is centered around giant water bug eggs.  I am an insect egg fanatic!  So, you can imagine my delight when this image popped up in my Facebook feed yesterday:

insect egg

Image by Martin Oeggerli, published in the September issue of National Geographic.

Insect eggs are featured in National Geographic this month!  (It figures that, for the first time in years, I not getting National Geographic when this article appears…)  The photos are images created using a scanning electron microscope, one of the tools I use in my own research.  They have been painstakingly recolored from their original black and white format to reflect the colors of the eggs in nature.  The results are absolutely stunning.  I highly recommend that you read the article and take a look at the photos (though if you’re hoping that the structures of the eggshell will be identified, you’re going to be a bit disappointed – leave a comment below if you want to know the name of a structure in any of the photos).  There is also a video describing how the photos were colored.  The coloration is superb and took an incredible amount of work to produce.

I am mildly disappointed that there are so few non-butterfly or moth insects represented in the images because many other insects have extraordinary eggs, but the photos are so gorgeous I can’t help but love them anyway.  My favorite is the red lacewing butterfly image because it is what the most beautiful plant I can imagine would look like.    If any of you check out the photos, I’d be thrilled to know which one is your favorite and why.  Leave a comment below!

I’ll be posting about my own work using the scanning electron microscope to look at egg structures in the next few months.  If you like the National Geographic article, I encourage you to check back and read about eggs that very few people have ever seen up close.


Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © 2010

2 thoughts on “Amazing insect egg story in National Geographic this month

    • That would be nice, but it would also mean a much longer, and very different article! Especially if you tried to be comprehensive and include all insects, and then you’d likely have to discuss the larva vs. nymph debate which could be several articles on its own. I would personally like to have more about how the eggs are formed inside the insect and/or how the embryo develops inside the egg myself. But even without any of it, I would be content with the photos! I love them!

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