Insect eggs, egg cases, and nests. Slideshow.

The job of an insect egg case is to give the occupant(s) the best chance of success in becoming the next generation of the species.

Some species favor camouflage in their egg design, others use a warning color, and some eggs have hard shells. Arthropods build these structures from mud, silk, chewed wood, leaves, excreted fluids, or gathered materials. They are attached to a substrate of choice.

Mantids and members of the cockroach family deposit an "ootheca" -- a structure that's formed as the eggs are laid and which encloses the eggs as they are deposited.

Some insect species lay large numbers of eggs in a single clump — other species place single eggs in multiple locations.

Egg cases and the structures in which eggs are placed are often exquisitely formed little works of art — which is what attracts me to them.

I look for egg cases under leaves, beneath rock ledges, in tree bark crannies, on grasses, reeds, and on host plants.

Over the last two years, I've tried to grab a quick photograph of any interesting eggs when I find them. It is extraordinarily difficult to ID insect eggs accurately (once you go beyond fairly common species), so I'm working on this and will make IDs visible in about ten years when I've figured them out. I mostly enjoy photographing their fantastic construction and beauty.

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Australia. Likely Pentatominae eggs (shield bug, unknown species).
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